The New York Yankees had to take extreme measures to put bottoms in their premium seats. Last night, the Yankees announced they would cut prices for the top-tier $2,500 seats in half, a stunning development. Could the Mets be next?
At least one baseball fan was not pleased. How does Keith Olbermann go to games if he's doing a live TV show five nights a week? Anyway, here's the AP story, with pricing details:
Empty Seats Make Yankees Cut Some Premium Prices
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK (AP) -- Turns out a few more fans might be able to buy those empty front-row seats at Yankee Stadium. The New York Yankees slashed prices on more than 40 percent of their front-row seats by up to 50 percent Tuesday and announced many of those who bought tickets closest to the field for $325-$2,500 will be eligible for additional free seats.
Those initiatives could help pack previously unfilled areas that were an eye sore on television broadcasts during the opening homestand at the $1.5 billion ballpark.
''There are a few hundred suite seats in our premium locations that have not been sold on a full season basis,'' Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. ''As a result, and for many of our fans who have already purchased full season suite seats in such premium locations, the Yankees are announcing today a program that adjusts certain prices and benefits.''
While most of the cheaper tickets in the second and third decks were sold for the opening six games, entire sections of cushioned blue seats with teak arm rests in the first nine rows in 25 sections went empty, areas that cost $500 and up. In addition, many of the non-premium seats between the bases, which cost $325 as part of season tickets and $375 individually, also went unfilled.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who owns three $850 Legends Suite season tickets, was unhappy prices were cut only for those with front-row seats while others will be given additional tickets.
''If they're offering only selective refunds, depend upon it: There are going to be lawsuits,'' he said. ''Great, more tickets nobody wants. The silver lining here is that even more charities are going to be getting even more tickets from me.''
The price of first-row season seats in nine sections of the Delta Sky360 Suite one deck up behind home plate was cut from $750 to $550.
Among the top non-premium seats in the lower deck, the Yankees announced a buy-three-get-one-free program for new $325-a-seat season tickets in the 15 sections between the bases.
Steinbrenner said the Yankees had sold 85 percent of their premium seats and 37,000 full-season equivalents, more than 3.4 million tickets in all. But it was apparent most of the unsold seats were closest to the field.
In response, the team cut the price of first-row Legends Suite seats in four sections on the outer half of the dugouts and photo cages from $2,500 to $1,250. According to a count by The Associated Press, 48 seats were affected.
In addition, seats in the first row in the final three sections down each foul line were slashed from $1,000 to $650. That affects 68 seats.
In all, the AP count had the Yankees cutting the price of 116 of 258 front-rows seats, which have been on sale for up to $2,625 for individual games. The team said the reductions will apply to this season only, and ticket buyers can receive either a refund or credit.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky of Westchester, a frequent and vocal critic of the Yankees, said the reductions weren't enough.
''It's the public that built Yankee Stadium, and even at these prices, the public has been excluded from the very stadium they built,'' Brodsky said. ''It's a continuing disaster.''
Those who bought $2,500 first-row season tickets in the 11 sections surrounding the plate that weren't reduced -- there are 98 seats in that area -- will receive an equal number of free first-row tickets for the rest of the season. Those who bought $1,250 first-row seats in the first two sections past each photo cage -- 44 seats previously in that category -- will receive free seats for 24 games.
Fans who bought $850 Legends Suite season tickets -- there are 843 seats located in that category -- will get free seats in the same section for eight games and free seats in the $500 section for four games.
Those who bought $600 Legends Suite season tickets -- 324 seats are in that area -- will get free seats in the $500 section for 10 games. Those who bought $500 Legends Suite seats -- there are 470 -- will get free seats in that section for eight games.
Among the $325 non-premium seats between the bases, the Yankees said fans who bought two or three season tickets will receive two free tickets for every other game starting with Thursday or Friday. Those who bought four or five season tickets will get two free seats for every game, those who bought six or seven will get three free seats for every game and those who bought season tickets will get four free seats for every game.
The Yankees have charged far higher prices than the Mets, whose top 92 seats behind home plate, called Delta Club Platinum, average $495 under the team's five-tier variable pricing system at $800 million Citi Field.
The debate about Citi Field sight lines and oversight in neglecting Met history continues in bars, on sports radio and in blogs, including Loge13
If the Mets were playing better, we'd have something better to talk about. I am convinced of one thing: I am getting tickets in the Pepsi Porch this year at some point.
Meanwhile, the New York Daily News ran a good column
, touching on both sides of the issue. The Mets are definitely scrambling to announce a more accessible Mets Hall of Fame in the coming weeks and defuse some of the troubles. Here be the article, in case you missed it:
Who plays at Citi Field again?
The new $850 million ballpark
got an electric reception last Monday, but a growing chorus of Mets
fans are griping about a peculiar choice of which storied New York
stadium the Amazin's have honored.
There's a glaring lack of Shea
reminders amid an odd abundance of tributes to the long-departed
Brooklyn Dodgers and Ebbets Field, fans say.
"All I know is
there's got to be Mets stuff or it's embarrassing," said WFAN midday
radio show host Evan Roberts. "It's a cold feeling and it doesn't feel
like your home."
Sporting a facade that mimics the masonry of the
Dodgers' old digs, Citi Field also has the Jackie Robinson Rotunda -
with photos and film of Dodgers stars and Ebbets Field - and a
field-level eatery named the Ebbets Club.
Images of the
now-dismantled Shea Stadium, where the Amazin's played for 45 years and
won World Series titles in 1969 and 1986, are much harder to find.
A Mets spokesman stressed plans to honor team legends in a museum at Citi Field.
previously stated, we will recognize our team's heritage and have
announcements in the weeks ahead," the spokesman said. He didn't
comment about the paucity of Shea pictures in the new ballpark.
should be paid and Shea should be honored," said Stanley Cohen, author
of "A Magic Summer," about the 1969 Mets. "We lose the whole substance
of what the game means if we don't have something that recalls the
Jason Antos, who wrote "Shea Stadium: Images of Baseball,"
was puzzled by the emphasis on Ebbets Field, which never hosted the
Mets and represents Brooklyn, not Queens.
"It's a little
confusing why, in the stadium where the Mets are playing, there's so
much attention being paid to Brooklyn Dodgers history," Antos said.
At the Mets' home opener on Monday, fans also bemoaned the lack of Shea likenesses.
still paying homage to a team that left over 50 years ago," griped
salesman Paul Palmeri, 48, of Middle Village. "It's like going to a
road game to watch your home team."
Mark Klimm, 48, of Newtown,
Conn., stressed he liked Citi Field but will forever have a soft spot
for Shea, where he fondly remembered marching on field at a Banner Day
in the mid-1970s. "That was an experience I'll never forget," he said.
fans won't see many images of Shea's blue windscreen panels with neon
outlines of ballplayers, the brand-new ballpark incorporates some
elements of the Mets' longtime stadium.
Citi Field includes
Shea's Home Run Apple and the New York City skyline from the Shea
scoreboard. The Mets also plan to mark Shea's bases with plaques in
Citi Field's parking lot.
Last week, Mets brass announced plans
to install a Mets Hall of Fame with plaques honoring the club's
legends, possibly in center field.
Still, many fans said they love Citi Field as is.
ticket holder Monica Hickey-Martin, 44, of Stuyvesant Town, applauded
the ballpark's link to the Dodgers, whose westward move in 1957 paved
the way for the Mets' creation in 1962.
"So many Met fans became Met fans because they were Dodgers fans," she said.
Cohen, 46, of Flushing, even suggested the lack of images of Shea -
where the Mets suffered late-season collapses in 2007 and 2008 - is for
"You want to do anything you can to erase the specter
of that reputation," Cohen said. "You want to have a fresh start and a
new look - even if that's the look of the Brooklyn Dodgers."
It was a dump. But it was our dump. I knew the time had come too say
goodbye, but I never truly believed that the name would be sold to the
highest bidder. When the name Citifield was announced I cried a little.
When I drove by the other day and saw that name in lights, I cried a
So here we are in the great depression of 2009, Citibank has been
bailed out. At that time several people wanted to call it Taxpayer
Field. I heard this while listening to the FAN, and I remember
commenting to my self, "I'm calling it Shea."And that's what I'm calling it. It will never be Citifield in my mind.
It will always be Shea. Join us, as we attempt to take back the real
name of the park at Flushing Meadows back form those that stole it from
us. Join us in always calling it Shea to your friends and loved ones.
"Popcorn, peanuts all down at Shea, guaranteed to have a heck of a day."
The other day I posted about what's not to like at Citi Field
Now it's time to try and be positive, not my natural instinct but here it goes:Fan Walk
: I am a fan. The brick walkway outside is a classy touch. Met fans rose to the occasion and left behind some clever tributes and poignant memorials. I am especially impressed by the dude who used the fan walk as an opportunity to propose marriage ("I am not David Wright but I am Mr. Right. Will you marry me?" Damn I wish I thought of that. Oh wait I'm already married). We always knew Met fans were the wittiest and most passionate in all baseball. Now there is written proof around Citi Field.The Dunking Station
. That was the favorite place for my sons (The MLB09 video game hut came in second). Next to the wiffle ball field behind the scoreboard, there is an old-fashioned dunking station sponsored by Hershey Park. The dunked victim doesn't fall into a tank of water, however; just some foam. But the kids were loving it anyway. Smart move by the Mets to put a giant screen behind the scoreboard so parents forced to bring their progeny to all these attractions can still follow the game.Bullpens
. Once again, we can see who is warming up, at least for the Mets. The old Apple.
At one point, the Mets were going to trash Shea's old home run magic hat. Now it is one of the most popular destinations in the new stadium. Very cool.The bridge.
Between the Apple and the bullpen, the suspension bridge provides the most impressive view of the game (that's where the above photo was taken). Citi corridors.
There is much more room to walk within the concourses of Citi Field. And on the Promenade level, there are many open areas, so more natural light comes in. I especially like the Promenade food court behind home plate. They could use another video screen there for fans to watch the action while dining. Citi bathrooms
. I have only been to one game but I never had to wait on line. And I got to listen to the radio, as they now pipe WFAN into the men's room. In fact, I was in the bathroom on Opening Day when the news broke about the death of Mark "The Bird" Fydrich. Someone flushed during the news, though, so I had to loiter in the men's toilet a bit longer than I felt comfortable with.Citi staff.
I did not see our old Loge13 usher on Opening Day. He may have retired; he's probably somewhere else. The folks I have met have clearly taken the new courtesy training very seriously. But that doesn't mean they are without charm or character. Good example: before Monday's game, the usher in our section heard me chatting with Ron Hunt about the rock & roll hall of fame. He noted that lots of worthy bands are still excluded. I agreed and cited as one random example, Jethro Tull. Turns out, this guy was at Shea Stadium July 23, 1976 when Tull played Shea
, and he cited the date as proof. Now that's what we want in a Mets usher.
Again, I have only attended one game so I may have overlooked or overstated something. Feel free to fill in the blanks.
Q. Who was the first person to hit his 500th home run in Citi Field?
A. Gary Sheffield (That's an easy one)
Q. Who had the first walk-off RBI at Citi Field?
A. Luis Castillo
That last one may not be so easy.
Good to see Castillo have another good game at the plate. Real Met fans had better be rooting for this guy; we need him to come through like tonight if we're going to have a chance this year. The Mets left 13 men on base tonight, including three bases-loaded situations. This team will live or die by how secondary dudes like Castillo do with the game on the line.
Congrats also to Gary Sheffield. Maybe losing that 500 HR anvil from his back will help him loosen up more at the plate.