I was invited to a get together yesterday of eight fans, some of the "regulars" of section 317, for whom I am naturally the official AN liaison. Their mission was to pen a letter addressing their collective dissatisfaction with the new policy of no season ticket sales (the jury seems to be still out on whether third deck tickets will be available for "big games" ) in the view level.
I thought that perhaps some of you might want to add your names to ours on the letter. Lewis, the chief scribe of the letter, plans to send it in a few days, so that if you want to add your name to the letter, he will do it. If you would prefer to keep your real name a secret (rather than posting a comment), feel free to email me at email@example.com
After the letter, in the extended copy of this diary I'll include a few photos (if I can figure out how) of our session yesterday, at Lewis and Gail's lovely Oakland home. I have to say that these are the most dedicated and longstanding A's fans I've ever met. Eloise, whose picture many of you will undoubtedly recognize (you'll have to imagine the faded green pin-studded bucket hat she always wears), goes to almost every game, and has for decades. I include these rather boring shots to help put a face on some of the fans most drastically affected by the pending closing of the view level.
Here's the letter:
Dear Mr. Wolff, Mr. Crowley, and Mr. Beane:
We are a group of friends who have been attending A's games in Section 317 for between ten and thirty-seven years. We did not start out as friends, but, over the years, as we followed our team through its ups and downs, we developed a bond, not only with the Athletics, but with each other, forming a strong and caring community. Some of us have been A's fans and customers for decades; others shifted our loyalties to Oakland when the Giants raised their tickets prices to a level that drove us out of Pac Bell Park. Most of us are A's season ticket holders. Every one of us has convinced friends and relatives to buy tickets, always in the upper deck.
All of us were distressed to learn of your plan to close the upper deck at the Coliseum. Some of us are on fixed incomes, and none of us would be considered affluent.. The offer to sell outfield plaza level seats to season ticket holders at seven dollars each would represent a price increase of up to one hundred per cent and place us in an area from which our view of home plate, our ability to follow the flight of the ball, and our perception of the complexities of pitching and positioning would be seriously compromised. The proposed restructuring of prices and availability also would have a devastating effect on our community.
Our strong preference is that you keep the view level open at the current prices, which make frequent visits to the ball park feasible for a wide range of people. However, we understand your reasons for not choosing that option. The overhead caused by keeping unprofitable concession stands open, the need for security, and the benefits of optimization provided by a limited seating capacity are legitimate considerations.
We believe that those considerations can be met by closing off most of the upper deck, but leaving sections 316 through 318 open. We loyal fans, who would continue to sit in that area, do not require concession stands that are immediately available. Limiting seating in the view level to three sections would require a minimum number of security personnel. And the amount of seats you would open up would not be so great that you would lose the benefits of a significantly lowered seating capacity.
Another, less preferred, way in which you could meet both your needs and ours would be to sell partial season tickets to view level seats for only those games for which you anticipate a large turnout. You could accommodate your increased attendance in those plaza level seats you now are offering us, and we would continue to enjoy, at least for a limited number of games, the benefits of our current seating.
If you are unable to accept any of our suggestions, please, at least, retain some meaningful incentives for older fans and children, who are, after all, the future of the game.
We hope you will consider these alternatives to your proposed actions, actions that would leave many long time A's fans unable to attend the games we love, in the company of friends we have come to love as well.
thanks to jlaff for his tecnichal assistance! Gail reads the group's letter aloud, as Lewis and Bob listen: If you've ever sat in the upper deck, you probably will recognize Eloise, the Matriarch of section 317: 317 regulars Dave, Eloise, and Brian: