Why I am canceling my season ticket plan

December 17, 2012

Mr. John Weber
Vice President, Ticket Sales and Operations
Citizens Bank Park
One Citizens Bank Way
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Dear Mr. Weber:

With great regret I must inform you of my decision not to renew my season ticket package this year. I sat in section 325, row 7, seat 20 with a 17-game package. While I could cite a few reasons for my decision, the main one is this:

On the last home game of this past season, otherwise known as “Fan Appreciation Day,” I had finally had enough of what seems to me an unreasonable and inconsistently applied policy.

While I had my seat in an upper section, I have friends who share the same plan as I do, but sit in section 105. By the time the eighth inning came around, and it became all-too-clear that the team would lose the game, I saw through my binoculars that my friends had plenty of empty seats around them. As I had several times in the past, I made my way down to their section to join them for the end of a miserable game topping off an equally miserable season.

However, I was stopped by one of the ushers who asked to see my ticket. When I informed him that I had one for section 325, he informed me point blank: “They don’t want you down here.”

Despite the fact that it was the eighth inning, that fans were leaving by the thousands at that point, and that the team was losing, he turned me away. I trashed all my fan appreciation swag and went home.

Forgive me, but I just don’t understand this. My friend later surmised that because Jason Werth was playing right field, management sought to discourage hooligans from harassing him. If so, then I’m doubly flummoxed, because I would think that a player making north of $20 million a year to catch a ball would be able to take care of himself. Further, I’m 51-years-old, a husband and father, was by myself, and I gave no reason for the usher to think I was intoxicated after my single beer.

I have been turned away several times in similar fashion when attempting to move to a lower section — but always in the eighth or ninth inning and only when there were large areas of open seats. Restricting these seats even when they are obviously vacated makes no sense to me.

For me, this was the last straw. This is not about the team’s performance. I understand that players have good years and bad. To me, this is more about the policies of an organization that has allowed an unhealthy imbalance between their bottom line and the fan experience to take hold. Eight-dollar beers, nine-dollar sandwiches, section lock-downs, and further Major League Baseball’s TV blackouts that restrict internet viewing to out-of-market games have made me fed up. I realize everyone needs to make a buck, but you are both pricing me out of the Major League experience and rubbing my nose in it at the same time.

I will continue to go to games, but many fewer of them, and only because I continue to love baseball. I will look for promotions, gifts from friends, and occasional impulse purchases. This is too bad, too, because my daughter is finally at the age where I felt we could start going to games together, and where she would become a life-long fan herself. I’m not so sure of that now.

Thank you, but you may stop with the emails and the phone calls. Go Phillies!

Sincerely,

Randy Garbin