Monday, February 1, 2010

An Interview With The Yankees Season Ticket Plan Canceler

On Friday, we posted an email exchange between an emotional Yankees fan and his season ticket account representative. When the tip arrived in our inbox, we realized that it was perfect for this blog, but never expected the interest from around the rest of the blogosphere. From Sports Illustrated's "Hot Clicks" to Yahoo's "Big League Stew," NBC Sports' "Circling The Bases" and Deadspin, people were fascinated with the email exchange.

In sharing our emailer's story with the masses, we opened him up to significant public ridicule - NOT our original intention. Commenters and bloggers around the internet were starting to pile on and take cheap shots, so we decided to give him a chance to tell his side of the story.

In the interview after the jump, you'll find out exactly why the email he sent was rambling (spoiler alert: "sent from my iphone"), his thoughts on the representative's timely and logical response, whether he will ever regret his decision to cancel his ticket plan and what he thinks of the new Yankee Stadium. We still don't agree with his harsh criticisms of the Yankees offseason moves, but his lucid response made us realize that we shouldn't be embarrassed to have him as a Yankees fan.

We have reached out to the ticket representative for his side of the story and if he is allowed to respond, we'll post that later this week.

Thanks for indulging us by answering a few questions. The attention your story has grabbed around the blogosphere has been unexpected to say the least. People seem really intrigued by your honest and heartfelt communication with the Yankees and their subsequent response.

New Stadium Insider:
First of all, please tell everyone about yourself (unless you care to remain anonymous, in which case feel free to make something up). How long have you been a Yankees fan? How long were you a season ticket holder before canceling your plan because of the Randy Winn signing? Which ticket plan did you have?

I am a 33 year old teacher from Long Island, NY and a lifelong Yankee fan. As a child my favorite Yankee was Dave Winfield and the first Yankee game I attended was in 1985 when my grandmother took me to the game in which the Yankees beat the Red Sox when Ken Griffey Sr. robbed Marty Barrett of a home run in left field. I have always tried to attend as many games as possible, but since I moved to Queens 5 years ago to take a teaching position in the Bronx, I have bought some form of ticket plan each of those seasons. I take my students every year as a field trip to the tour of Yankee stadium and last year when I was the Dean at my building, I was lucky enough to take a group of 50 students with high attendance on the open practice at the new stadium. The last two seasons I had the 12-13 game packages, the final season the seats were in the left field bleachers and this year my seats were in 306, in right field. My favorite Yankee of all time is Mickey Mantle, I have a plaque of him that is behind my desk in my classroom and if I have a son, I plan on naming him Mickey.

In our original post, we accidentally included a paragraph about your career as a teacher in the Bronx. Since you wrote your season ticket cancellation from your IPhone, some of the spelling, grammar and sentence structure wasn't exactly what people consider "teacher material." We feel bad for "outing" anything about your personal life - would you like to clarify any of the points you made in your email that might not have come across properly because you were writing it from your IPhone?

Well, I can say the email was hardly an example of me modeling the writing process to my students in terms of revising and editing, but I've always thought of email and texting as a medium in which one didn't have to hire an editor to proofread one's work (There is a reason why any email from my phone has the "Sent from my Iphone" signature at the bottom) The truth is, I was on the subway home from work and I was thinking about the moves that occurred this offseason and how disappointed I was. After I had received that email from the Yankees about renewing my package, I was holding off on responding because numerous writers were stating that Damon had informed them that he would have a decision in regards to his signing by the end of the week. Once I heard about the Winn signing, I knew that the window to sign Damon had closed and the team that we had on paper was pretty much what I was going to see on Opening Day. So I starting rattling off this email to
[REDACTED] , describing why I was upset, not only to voice my concerns but as a sort of therapeutic attempt to calm my anger as well (I have done similiar [SIC] emails to my ticket account representative from the Knicks as well, as you can guess, there are more often opportunities for such emails with that organization). When I had finished writing the email, I went to highlight my writing to copy it so I could paste it as a note on my facebook page as well. While I had the whole text highlighted, I got a text message and I clicked to close the text message and it ended up deleting the whole letter I wrote. This obviously increased my anger and I thought about just forgetting the whole letter writing idea, but then I decided that I needed my voice to be heard, so that's how the letter you see before you was crafted, flaws and all.

It seems that you wrote your email regarding the Yankees' offseason moves in a very emotional state. Once you read the very reasoned response from the Yankees ticket representative, did you question your stance at all?

First I'd like to say how impressed I was that the representative took the time to read my email and to craft a well written response. When I sent the email, I was anticipating him seeing the word cancel and then just crossing my name off of the list of possible ticket plan holders. I sent him an email after thanking him and expressing how I hope in the near future the Yankees can make a move that will restore my faith in the direction of the organization so I can return as a ticket package holder.
In terms of his response making me question my stance, I pretty much was aware of all of the information that was presented, except for the part about Granderson scoring the winning run, which is only because I don't watch the All Star game. It didn't make me waiver
[SIC] at all regarding my disliking all of the moves made this offseason.

The ticket representative might have a somewhat biased opinion of the Yankees' player personnel moves since it is his job to keep you as a customer. However, it seems like a lot of smart baseball evaluators (both professional and amateur think highly of the Yankees' offseason moves. Did the nearly universal response from bloggers, commenters on blogs and commenters on Twitter open your eyes to another way of evaluating the trades and signings?

I'm not sure if it has been a universal response from the baseball world about Cashman's moves, nor has the comments from the blogs really open my eyes to having a different view of the moves. I still don't think giving up Austin Jackson was a good move to get Granderson. I would much rather try to see a prospect with potential grow rather than trade them to get a name player who has significant problems hitting left handed pitching considering that many teams plan their rotation to use left handed starters at the stadium to negate the short right field dimensions. A couple of years ago, my co-workers thought I was crazy because I said the mets trading for Johan Santana would be a great day for the Yankees because it allowed us to focus on developing young talent. The Nick Johnson move doesn't make sense to me because it negates the plans the Yankees had to use the DH position as a way for the other older players to use the DH spot to rest up. I understand his high OBP and understand that baseball is now a stat driven sport, but I don't think a one dimensional player is worth that sort of investment for a team so focused on it's budget.
The only area in which my eyes were open a bit is when I read Buster Olney's blog about the negotiation proccess that ensued between Cashman, Damon and Boras. I saw the Yankees had a genuine interest in bringing Damon back and did not get an eager response back from Damon's camp. I understand how the Yankees didn't want to be in a position to have to overpay for a player later because they had limited options remaining. Yet, I also think there is a grudge that Cashman has for Boras, maybe from the ARod opting out of his contract debacle, and he gets a genuine pleasure in seeing Boras look bad in the media during these negotiations. I also understand how a player like Damon could be upset how a team that has spent money year after year on free agents, yet would ask him to take such a significant paycut to remain on the Yankees. I think that Damon deserved a contract in the neighborhood of the Bobby Abreu deal, since Damon is a much better rounded player than Abreu. I'm sure the union would not have been thrilled about Damon taking such a serious pay cut as well.

Can you foresee a day that you regret your decision to cancel your season ticket plan?

Not really, although I had good seats, there are always plans available and I don't think the ticket plans really were that advantageous. One of the main reasons I got the plan was to have access for postseason tickets, and I was only able to get tickets for game 2 of the ALDS and game 7 of the ALCS. I attempted to get world series tickets the minute the presale started and they were sold out right away. My friend who had an over 20 game package had similiar
[SIC] complaints and wrote a long email which brought her no results. The bottom line is with agencies such as Stubhub, the ticket packages are not such a necessity, since that was the method I was able to buy tickets to other postseason games last year.

Bonus question: what are your feelings about the new Yankee Stadium? Do you miss the old one?

I like some of the modern advantages of the new stadium such as the Jim Beam suite and some of the new food vendors. I also enjoy that I am able to continue to watch the game with the open site lines while I am away from my seat. I was worried in regards to the stadium having the same electric atmosphere for big games, especially when I watched early season games and the crowd seemed to not be as enthusiastic. My theory that the crowd in early season was just exploring the new features of the stadium turned out to be accurate however, for once the big games came late in the year, the stadium atmosphere and feeling was still vibrant. I have video on my iphone from the bleachers when ARod hit the tying homerun off Nathan in the ALDS that can attest to that. It's not the same as the old stadium and it never will be, but the fans are, and that passion is what makes the atmosphere of the stadium so amazing.

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