When would be a good time for a ball club to treat its most devoted customers in a reasonably fair manner? Might it be during a health pandemic without a foreseeable end, a pandemic that has cost
When would be a good time for a ball club to treat its most devoted customers in a reasonably fair manner? Might it be during a health pandemic without a foreseeable end, a pandemic that has cost innumerable Americans their careers?
Yeah, that might be a good time.
But New York teams have a rotten habit of trying to exploit whatever there is to exploit to feed their blind lust for money and alienate their best customers.
Just last week, Michael Breslaw, a Mets season-ticket purchaser for the past 31 years and a local businessman who’s hanging in there on behalf of his employees, took a Zoom call from a Mets ticket-sales rep.
Breslaw pays $33,000 a year for five seats.
“The sales rep wanted to know if I still wanted the seats. I told him that under COVID conditions, I’m not sure that our clients or my family would want to attend.
“He then said that I’d better make up my mind because season-ticket sales are going very well and I shouldn’t miss out. He said 87 percent of season-ticket holders have renewed for the coming season.”
That struck Breslaw, and me, as preposterous. Eighty-seven percent in the throes of a financial and deadly health crisis? Five percent would strike me as high.
Breslaw tried to negotiate incremental preseason payments, through March, but was told no.
“I would still have to pay $8,000, now, $8,000 in December, $8,000 in January and the balance — $9,000 — in February and March.
“I told him I’d pay them the final $18,000 in March, closer to when we know if there will be a regular season.” The Mets could bank $15,000 of his money in the meantime. “But I was refused. I told him that’s ridiculous.”
And as of today, Breslaw, after 31 years, is an ex-Mets season-ticket holder. How, after all, could he possibly accede to such terms under current unknown and unpredictable conditions?
But that’s how sports businesses operate here. You may recall the Jets’ bogus selling of their PSLs while Roger Goodell claimed them to be “good investments.”
The Jets claimed in TV and radio ads that fans had better hurry because the PSLs were nearly sold out. Complete nonsense. Phone reps promised buyers privileged access to tickets of other Meadowlands events, such as concerts. That, too, as the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority assured us, was nonsense.
And buried deep within the Jets’ PSL contracts was word that whatever promises were made to potential purchasers to close this deal should be ignored.
The Mets have made a mockery of good-faith relationships with their customers — from nearly doubling the price of tickets from Shea Stadium to Citi Field, to onerous, unexplained tack-on purchasing (the convenience in “convenience fees” belongs to the team) to the bundling of tickets to force fans to buy tickets to big-draw weekend games only if they buy four or five unwanted tickets to weeknight games.
And now, in the throes of a health and finance crisis, they demand $33,000 in way-upfront money from a fellow who financially supported the team for 31 years — through thick, thin and thinner.
Don’t expect different Carton in his WFAN return
Thursday, in what sounded like a case of greasing the skids for his return to WFAN on Monday, Craig Carton was heard. He spoke contrition for his recent sins, yet was also heard as a hardly humbled wiseguy. But who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of radio characters, starting in 1930 with The Shadow.
When the Carton segment ended, listeners heard from JJ Jastremski, another WFAN junior-grade show host who was suddenly assigned to emphasize sports gambling as if he’s a renowned and successful tout (there’s no such animal). As if on cue, Jastremski discussed NFL betting lines.
Also, Thursday came word that WFAN’s parent company Entercom, has signed a six-year deal with FanDuel to become the “official sports book” of Entercom stations as WFAN sinks desperately deeper into the gambling quicksand.
And now WFAN will team Carton, the station’s most infamous gambler, with another of its new, station-anointed Masters of Sports Gambling Expertise, Evan Roberts. Suggested name: “The Regret & Remorse Show.”
Hell of a place for Carton to further pursue recovery from a criminal gambling addiction.
It seems impossible that Carton will return a humbled, disgraced and repentant man. His radio ratings success was predicated on conceit, defamations, excessive self-entitlement, vulgarities and attention-desperate obnoxious public conduct.
In other words, even if Carton wishes to be seen and heard in a better, post-prison light — more of a human who practices humanity — it’s unlikely WFAN management would encourage that on a continuum. His tacit rules of engagement are to aim low, go lower.
It seems far more likely that the shot-callers want him to pick up where he left off on the day he was arrested and the day he replaced Don Imus. Not that WFAN ever took care to take care of its credibility.
In Texas Hold ’Em terms, WFAN is “all-in.” How it can be all-in while leaving Carton out would be a stunning card trick.
Next Gen stats 98% wrong
Reader Raider D. notes that with a minute left in Detroit’s game versus Atlanta, last Sunday, Next Gen Stats calculated the Lions had “a 2 percent win probability.” Next, with no time left, “their win probability became 100 percent,” as the Lions scored a TD on the last play.
Reader Henry Blaukopf on baseball’s “pure science” analytics: “They’re like a mutual funds disclaimers — ‘Past performance may not be indicative of future performance.’ ”
Glad they’re keeping Washington Football Team. It’s to the point. Of course, when referencing WFT, one must be extra careful with those initials.
When Rich Gannon joined CBS in 2005, he spoke plain and pleasing football English. Now, as heard throughout last Sunday’s Jets-Bills game, he tries to speak genuine, TV-certified pigskin gibberish, in quick order telling us Jets RB Frank Gore doesn’t like “to be disrespected” — who does? — “likes to run downhill” and twice that Gore tries to avoid “negative runs.”
Didn’t take long for that Base-Cam gizmo to vanish, did it? Not so much a matter of who invented it, but who approved it for useless use in MLB playoff telecasts?
Six-game World Series: Dodgers batted .251, Rays .216. Hits: a total of 93. Strikeouts: a total of 131. All 8:10 p.m. starts, quickest game: 3:15, longest game: 4:10. Might have something to do with rotten TV ratings?
Turn down the volume, CBS has assigned “Hollerin’ ” Kevin Harlan to Sunday’s Jets-Chiefs.
Reader Bruce Christoffersen: “Brian Cashman built a team to win the Home Run Derby, not the World Series.”