Monday, March 26, 2007

More Season Ticket Woes

The Nats are now falling back on their promise to deliver season tickets to season ticket holders. Last week season ticket holders were promised that they would receive their tickets no later than today, Monday, March 26. Now an announcement on the team's site tells us that tickets will be delivered by Wednesday, March 28. As Screech's Best Friend points out, this means that many season ticket holders, who were required to pay in full in December, will just be getting their tickets five days before the first game.

I should point out that I have received the tracking information for my tickets and it appears that they will be delivered today, but I'm writing this for everyone who is still in the dark. According to FedEx tracking, my tickets shipped from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Wha? I'm all for free trade with Canada, but if the ticket printing goblins can't hack it up there the Nats need to find a new supplier. Maybe this is the result of misplaced Canadian angst over the loss of the Expos. Who knows? The team isn't saying, that's for sure.

I don't like to be overly cynical, but we fans thought that we'd left these kinds of blunders behind when the MLB monopoly ceded control of the team to profit-seeking Lerner/Kasten group. Perhaps even more puzzling than the team's inability to deliver the tickets is Stan Kasten's media silence on the issue. Thus far the team has only issued contrite statements on the web and via email that "tickets shall be delivered no later than XX/XX/200X" and "we regret any inconvenience..." Okay, fine. Stuff happens, and we can be a forgiving bunch, especially when it comes to the Nats. But the least the team could do is explain the cause of the delay and outline the steps that are being taken to resolve the situation.

It's more than just a matter of people being able to handle their tickets fondly in the weeks before Opening Day. Many fans buy season tickets in groups and need time to allocate the tickets among the group members. Many of the groups actually hold ticket drafts or auctions where they all get together and divvy up the loot over beers. These events are less satisfying without the tickets in hand.

It also makes it impossible for fans like me who need to exchange tickets to games they can't attend. Several of the games on my 20 game plan are Thursday games at 1PM, which are almost certainly a non-option for me at work. I've been promised access to a Season Ticket holder-only section of the Nats web site that will allow me to make these exchanges online, but alas, my ticket rep has no idea when I'll be able to get access. He's offered to help me exchange those tickets over the phone, but that's really not the point. I paid for season tickets and I want all the rights and priviledges granted therein.

I hope the team comes clean about what is causing this problem and what steps are being taken to resolve it. If the problem is out of the team's control, we'll understand. If the problem is within the team's control, we'll be disgruntled and complain but at least we'll know what's going on. Barry Svrluga has promised to talk to Stan Kasten and get to the bottom of this. Hopefully he'll come up with something for us. In this case, silence isn't golden.