Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Despite sellouts and fan protests, the upper deck tarps covering roughly 20,000 seats will remain in place until the World Series.
It's the morning of the Oakland A's first postseason berth since 2006. How long ago was that? In 2006, Eric Chavez and Nick Swisher were fun-loving A's, not clean-cut Yankees. Brad Halsey and Chad Gaudin pitched more than 50 games for the A's that year.
So it pains me to write about something negative when there's so much positive floating around the O.co these days. You just won't find any of it in the third deck.
As the A's have sold out at least the first home game of the American League Divisional Series and the demand for tickets has reached an dizzying high, the team's management has decided to keep 20,878 seats closed off to create — in their words — a more intimate experience. This will remain in place until the World Series, when it becomes MLB jurisdiction.
The issue gained notice recently in the San Francisco Chronicle, as a reporter reached out to the A's looking for answers.
A smaller crowd, A's managers said, would create a closer, more intimate environment for the American League Division Series.
"The fan experience is better without spreading fans out over more seats," A's executives wrote in an e-mail. "The energy in the park and the fan experience over the last week (when the seats were tarped) was incredible."
On one hand, you have to hand it to A's owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher, while every other team looks for ways to drain dollars from fans, Oakland's ownership is refusing ticket money. On the other, it just seems absolutely crazy. You've got several fans who would love to purchase tickets from the A's, but are being forced to StubHub, with prices that make you wonder if the game is being played at AT&T Park. As of Saturday morning, the cheapest ticket for ALDS Game 3 is a $65 standing room only spot. It'll set you back $75 if you want a seat.
The A's could've capitalized on this demand by opening up at least a few sections of the third deck and diverting ticket money away from scalpers and StubHub into team coffers.
This isn't a mid-May game against Royals, where I could see there would be a zero chance of a sellout. These are playoff games in one of the most exciting seasons in Oakland A's history. The demand is there, but by artificially limiting supply, money is going into the hands of scalpers and people who are upselling tickets on StubHub, craigslist and other avenues. I can't imagine how this makes any kind of sense from a business standpoint, other than cutting costs on ushers, security and concessions.
Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins isn't buying it either:
As onetime A's marketing whiz Andy Dolich said the other day, "No offense to the Giants, but there's an East Bay vibe, and it's rolling across the ballpark right now." It's going to last right through the postseason, at a time when anything seems possible, and it allows a sentimental sort to dream a little.
First order of business, to Lew Wolff and John Fisher: Get the hell out. Owning a team isn't about devious intentions and inexcusable thrift. You're a disgrace to the Bay Area, and if we can assume that San Jose is off the table - that seems to be the message from the commissioner's office - go ahead and sell the team to some generous folks willing to spend all that revenue-sharing money and actively market the product.
What do you think is the best course of action with regard to the tarps this postseason?