Can’t beat the box office. No Ticketmaster Transaction fee, no Inconvenience Fee, no print-at-home fee. For the cost-conscious consumer it’s worth driving a fair piece to buy tickets without the usuriousness.
Amusingly, the A’s web site makes it sort of hard to figure out how to buy tickets in person. The information is not included on the General Ticket Info page, nor can it be found on the Single Game Tickets page. Instead, you need to leave the ticket section of the site entirely, and find your way over to the Ballpark A-to-Z Guide page, then under the letter A (oddly) you’ll find "A’s Box Office," where you’ll learn that:
The A's Box Office is located on the North side of the stadium at D Gate and is open on Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm and Saturdays, 10am-4pm, closed on Sunday.
The Box Office is also open for every A's home game. On all weeknight, weekday and 6:05 weekend day games, the Box Office opens at 10am. On weekend games, the Box Office opens at 9am. The Box Office is open on gamedays until 30 minutes after the game at the D Gate Box Office.
- I’m guessing that the A’s decision to ditch Fan Fest this year put quite a dent in their opening weekend ticket sales. I went at 2:00 today, first day of sales, and there was almost no one there. One couple was walking away as the Aphid and I walked up, and another pair arrived as we were leaving. And that’s it. The A’s appeared to have eight tickets sellers on duty, and they, um, had some spare time on their hands. My transaction interrupted their card game.
- That said, today as always, the staff at the A’s Box Office rock. They are invariably helpful, patient, and possessed of a section-by-section…nay, seat-by-seat…knowledge of the vagaries of the concrete bowl we call home. What’s the best way to avoid the sun at a May afternoon game? Or to be close to a restroom with a diaper changing table? Where are you most likely to be assaulted by seagulls, smokers, or Sox fans? The A’s ticket staff knows.
- The team store was open. Had no player-specific jerseys or tee-shirts, except for some Chavez’s, of which I imagine they own numerous shipping containers full. OTOH—no Crosby’s! They’ve obviously learned to wait out the roster storms before stocking the inventory. They do, however, have six different sizes and styles of Stomper dolls available! Also, as always the A’s have a lot of A’s gear for infants, but not so much for elementary school aged kids.
- I’ll buy more game tickets later when I know my schedule better, and after I’ve exhausted my various sources of freebies. I’m especially interested in the much-improved Friday Family Pack Deal—four Plaza Level seats for $50, plus four hot dogs, sodas, and bags of peanuts. A fireworks game for my family of four last year ran us $56 for Plaza Outfield seats ($18 each for two adults, $10 each for kids). So for 2009 we're looking at better seats, for less money, plus food. Ex-cellent. < twiddles fingers >
- Also improved for this year: last year’s introduction of "premium game pricing," where tickets for games against the Giants, Red Sox and Yankees cost more than other games, has now been rolled back to apply to only the most high priced tickets. Us Joe "Quaff a pre-game BART lot" Sixpack types will pay the same for all 2009 games.
- The $2 Wednesday deals are better than ever! This year, no home Wednesdays are excluded…Royals or Red Sox, Rangers or Giants, Twins or Yankees, makes no difference, the A’s will sell you two dollar ticket.
- What’s more, the sections with $2 beauties have been expanded this year to add the "Plaza Level" section. Previously, the deal applied only to the Plaza Reserved (aka Upper Bleachers) and the Plaza Outfield (aka Plaza Oblique, near the foul poles). Now you can find $2 tix from Section 225 on the third base side and 209 on first base, at the outside edge of the infield dirt. For me this may not have a huge real-world affect—my butt pretty much only meets my actual assigned seat on Opening Night and when I have my kids along—but for the rest of you right-standing law abiding folk, this is good news.
- Tangent—please, someone tell the A’s how absurd their section naming is. If you’d never been there, would you think that "Plaza Reserved" are actually much worse seats than "Plaza Outfield" or "Plaza Level"? Or for that matter, that many seats in the "Plaza Infield" offer substantially better views than those in the "Field Level." For God’s sake, there’s four separate price ranges which have Plaza in their name. I think they should adopt a more colorfully hierarchical nomenclature. "Well, Roy Halladay’s pitching that game, so give me two seats in the Plutocrat section...I can’t afford the Brahmins. But next week when KC’s in town I’ll take two in the Plebe section and look to upgrade. But I draw the line at Peasants…they’re revolting"
Two tickets for Opening Night, front row Section 241…close enough that Ryan can hear me but not so close that Ichiro can point me out to the cops. Two tickets to four of the five Wednesday day games this season, and four tickets to every Wednesday night game. 38 tickets, $90. These are the good old days.