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"Unadulterated greed, inexcusable and wholly inappropriate" Carl Steward

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: "Unadulterated greed, inexcusable and wholly inappropriate" Carl Steward
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Tuesday, October 08, 2002 - 04:51 pm:

Loss was excusable, but not ticket prices
OAKLAND -- Less than 24 hours after looking helpless and sounding hopeless, Billy Beane already had emotionally reloaded to the degree that he was firing return shots on Monday.


Beane propped his feet on a desk, slipped on his more familiar face of complete confidence and staunchly defended the Oakland Athletics in spite of a season prematurely derailed by a Minnesota Twins team many -- myself included -- feel should never have beaten them.

The A's GM clearly feels that way, too -- just get him in a position-by-position analysis and watch his pupils flare -- but he refused to let it eat him alive. The loss barely got a nibble out of Billy, in fact.

"I got over it after an hour," Beane maintained, as though he'd just removed a lodged piece of steak with a toothpick. "I've probably been taking this better than everyone because I do understand the random chance element in a short series. I didn't toss and turn last night."

What he doesn't understand are the people who can't get over it, the nitpickers who continue to dissect Art Howe's managerial moves, the club's rotation decisions, the general inefficiencies of certain players and the whole notion that Oakland deserved a better showing from its baseball team.

"You know what?" Beane said in a pique of disgust. "This team did historical things. If people can't appreciate that, they're very shortsighted and spoiled."

Valid point, for now and probably for as long as this run of success lasts. As bitter as the A's elimination may have been, this Oakland franchise remains an anomaly in the game, a small-market club with a $40million payroll that has won nearly 400 games in four seasons since 1998 and reached the playoffs three straight years.

And yes, A's fans are spoiled. They have no reason to expect success under the prevailing economic constraints. Unfortunately, Beane may have taken his bones of contention about expectations too far in once again expressing his dismay and disappointment at the size of the crowds throughout the series, but particularly on Sunday.

Oakland drew just 32,146 for the deciding Game 5 of the ALDS, more than 12,000 shy of an official sellout and probably 25,000 short of what Network Associates Coliseum realistically can hold for a big baseball game.

But whose fault is that? A's fans have been scolded in this space in the past for not supporting their team. They've deserved it, too. But it's almost worth applauding those who stayed away this time for refusing to be gouged by the A's heavy-handed playoff pricing, which must have been set by someone on LSD. Or at least OFMA.

A's playoff tickets were almost shamefully expensive across the board, some the most expensive of any team in the playoffs. But the ticket costs were particularly ludicrous for the low-end seats: $35 for upper deck and the neo-bleachers. Now that's just plain and unadulterated greed, inexcusable and wholly inappropriate.

Not even the San Francisco Giants, whom the A's often whisper about regarding their elitist policies, charged as much for their low-end playoff seats at Pac Bell, all of which offered a lot better view than Oakland's nosebleed seats. If I were a fan, I wouldn't have sat in the upper deck for $35 if you'd lavished me with satin pillows and scantily clad women feeding me grapes.

Forget the notion that none of those seats are worth half that price. Whatever happened to the family-friendly franchise? More to the point, if the A's expect fans to have any compassion for their own fiscal constraints, how can they so callously disregard those of their fan base? Do they think everybody comes from Blackhawk?

Beane is rarely off-base, but for him to paint the small crowds as a platform to register a fairly strong accusation of mass apathy, that's an embarrassing whiff. And before the marketing folks get out their pie charts showing playoff prices compared to other sports, just chill. They don't apply.

The average family of four doesn't go to those other playoff games at all, unless they're fully committed to do that with their leisure time and not much else. But most just pass. Those same families, however, could afford baseball ... or at least until this week. People who love the A's, people who live and almost die by them, were priced out of their passion.

And let's not forget baseball's role in all of this. Nice last-minute scheduling in your soul sellout to TV, Bud Selig. As of Friday, A's fans didn't know if a Game 5 would be in the afternoon or at night. So they're going to put all plans on hold and wait for word on high? Bah. A lot of them simply stayed home and watched the Raiders-A's doubleheader on TV. Good for them.

But the big issue is the ticket prices. You simply can't have it both ways, fellas. You can't cry poverty and then gouge your customers. Bad, bad turn of events, maybe even worse than losing to the Twins.

Carl Steward can be reached at (510) 293-2451 or by e-mail at

csteward@angnewspapers.com .

http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82%257E1747%257E,00.html

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By dorrit on Tuesday, October 08, 2002 - 05:03 pm:

Sent him an e-mail thanking him.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jace on Tuesday, October 08, 2002 - 06:27 pm:

So did I. I asked him to please tell Mr. Billy Beane that 0 for 6 is NOT RANDOM CHANCE.


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