Friday, November 27, 2009

Gripe Of The Day: Want To Upgrade Your Crappy Seats? Pay Up First

We hinted at this yesterday, and we're pretty sure it has always been the Yankees policy - if you are a season ticket holder and want to change your seat location for 2010, you'll first have to pay your invoice in full. From the season ticket holder account:
The New York Yankees are currently accepting upgrade requests for 2010 from all existing non-Premium Ticket Licensees. In order to submit a Request you must complete the following 2010 Upgrade Application. Your Request will only be considered if you either signed up for the 2010 three part auto charge payment program or your Ticket License Account is paid in full by the payment deadline date set forth on the upper right hand corner of your 2010 invoice. All Requests are subject to availability. Requests will be processed after the Deadline. Please allow approximately four to six weeks after the Deadline for processing of your Request. Requests received after the Deadline will NOT be considered.
After a rough beginning for the new Yankee Stadium, things improved rather quickly. By the middle of the season, even chronic complainers (like us) ran out of bad things to say. The 2009 playoff run that resulted in a pennant and World Series title clinched on home turf built up at least a few years of goodwill for the "new house."

Of course, our kind words come with a caveat. An aspect of the new Yankee Stadium that can't escape our ire is our season ticket location - the upper rows of Grandstand section 428. If you sit in those seats once or twice, you may not notice some of the fatal flaws. After an entire season, you're left threatening to ditch your season tickets unless you receive an upgrade. Unfortunately, you also don't have much bargaining power.

The sight-lines are terrible, the depth perception of the play on the field is misleading and there is no reasonable way to tell balls and strikes without binoculars. The most understated and frustrating aspect of these seats, however, is the blatantly obstructed view of the left field corner. Not advertised as such when purchasing these tickets, any seats above row 5 don't have a view of most of the left field corner near the foul line.

Initially, the slight obstruction is manageable - especially considering the obstructions that people in the bleachers are forced to deal with. Over time, events on the field take place that quickly change your mind. Events like those of game 2 of the 2009 ALDS on 10/9/09.

In this classic playoff game, two of the most memorable moments happened in extra innings. Sitting in section 428, row 10, you would never have known they occurred. When Joe Mauer's would-be grounds rule double was erroneously ruled a foul ball by the incompetent Phil Cuzzi, there was ignorant bliss in section 428. To us, Cuzzi did a perfectly fine job - we had no way of seeing where the ball had landed with our own two eyes. When Mark Teixeira ended the game on a laser beam to the seats, the fans in section 428 were forced to react to the fans in the rest of the stadium. There was absolutely no view of the spot in left field where Teixeira's laser had landed.

Its obvious that in a stadium of approximately 50,000 seats, some of those seats will provide less than optimal views. It is also obvious that a fan paying for a half or full season in these flawed seats will want to upgrade to something better. As per the message in the Yankees account, those fans who want to keep their season tickets while slightly upgrading their obstructed view will be forced to pay in full and risk being stuck with the flawed seats.

Despite the poor economy, Yankees tickets are still some of the hottest on the planet, allowing the ticket office to make these harsh policies. For those of us affected, it is just another necessary evil associated with the "privilege" of owning Yankees season tickets.
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