Thursday, March 13, 2008

And now, for something completely different

The Washington Nationals have a new stadium opening later this month, and there are frequent radio commercials urging people to take Metro rather than drive. I'm all for public transportation, and I always use the Metro when I go to the District; it really is easier than driving. The commercials bother me because they emphasize that without reserved parking, you're likely to drive around the parking lot, in a desperate and ultimately futile search for parking while the game proceeds without you. The Nationals new stadium was heavily subsidized by the District of Columbia, which is not awash with cash, (not to mention $20 million in Federal money) and they have the appalling nerve to advertise the fact that parking is for people with money, period. Because "reserved parking" is of course for those with very expensive season tickets or corporate boxes. I know that nearly all sports arenas operate this way now; the average person (having already subsidized the venue through tax breaks) pays a ridiculous price for tickets, parking, concessions, and souvenirs, which subsidizes the luxurious box seats and other perks enjoyed by corporate team patrons. I've just never heard such a blatant "hey, eff you, regular people" proclamation of that fact.

I'm only a casual baseball fan, and I don't really care if the Nationals have a good season or not (and when they play the Phillies, I root against them). But I'm insulted on behalf of the people who are fans, and who will spend their money and time supporting this team, whose owners are certainly highly amused at the plebeian suckers who are stupid enough to walk around in their $20 "curly W" caps while such an openly contemptuous parking policy is enforced, at taxpayer expense, and to benefit the usual suspects. I suggest a boycott. Take Metro, by all means; just not to the new stadium. If they can sustain the stadium and the team with only the support of the privileged few with parking, then good for them. If they can't, then let's demand that parking is opened to everyone, first come, first served.

32 comments:

The Guv'ner said...

I've been to a million Yankees games since I've been in NY and I'm always appalled at the prices for everything. Of course I don't drive there or anything but still. Is it really necessary, after charging a fortune for tickets, to charge $5 minimum for a soda and $4 for a basic hotdog with no extras? Does a watered down beer really have to be $7? Everything about organized events is outrageous in regards to cost. If you want to take your three kids to a game it must be ridiculous getting them all tickets and concessions and maybe a souvenir. It's all effing corporate seats for companies holding season tickets and donating them to clients etc. who don't give a shit about the game itself. What a waste.

We just got a new stadium (well they're building it now) and the city of NY refused point blank to pay for it saying the team had enough money to finance it themselves. Hell yes they do. All the city did was improve parking/transportation access.

dguzman said...

That "hey, eff you, common fan!" attitude is why I've been boycotting baseball for years now. After the strike in 94, I tentatively came back to baseball, but I swore that if they ever even got CLOSE to striking again, I would never come back. So when they did get close to a "work stoppage" (stupid), I stopped watching it altogether. I miss it, but there are just other things I can do with that time and money besides give it to spoiled millionaires.

Sauntering Soul said...

I have been to a number of Braves games in the past. My ex used to manage a private country club and the GM of the Braves was a member, a lot of the other members had season tickets, etc. so we were often given tickets with parking passes.

My car got broken into while it was parked at the stadium. Just think about the fact that a lot of those rich people might have their cars broken into and maybe it will make you feel better. I just can't believe they picked my piece of crap Geo Tracker I owned at the time to break into. I imagine the vandal was highly disappointed when he made out with roughly $1.50 in change from the ashtray.

dguzman said...

That "hey, eff you, common fan!" attitude is why I've been boycotting baseball for years now. After the strike in 94, I tentatively came back to baseball, but I swore that if they ever even got CLOSE to striking again, I would never come back. So when they did get close to a "work stoppage" (stupid), I stopped watching it altogether. I miss it, but there are just other things I can do with that time and money besides give it to spoiled millionaires.

CDP said...

Guv'ner--good for NYC! I'm sure that the parking and road improvements cost the taxpayers 20 or 30 million, but at least they stopped short of just building them a new stadium!

Dguzman--I used to be more of a fan than I am, but I've definitely lost interest.

SS--ha ha!

Spartacus said...

CDP - Mets fan here. I think your tack is the way to go. Refuse to patronize these venues, the league and the teams. Up here the teams talk alot about being fan-friendly, but with a 20% increase in ticket prices and this nonsense of premium parking, what choice do you have but to watch it on TV?

I don't know about you, but if you love baseball and you want to get and give your kids a great baseball experience, take them to a minor league game.

Or failing that...what about a museum? Or a trip to the zoo?

These days everyone's funds are limited. If teams want to cater to the wealthy, I agree, let them. Personally, I get no sense of privilege hob-knobbing with the well-to-do, and I'm sensing you don't either.

Whiskeymarie said...

The whole sports thing is such bulls**t lately. My husband (an engineer) is currently working on the new Twins stadium, partially funded by taxpayers. The land ended up costing something like 12 million more than what the sellers were originally asking, and this little fact wasn't ironed out until construction had been going on for months.
Oh, and did I mention that the "open air" stadium is now located right next to a garbage-burning plant? My Mr. says it reeks.
Lovely.
Other than the fact that I'm not interested in them, this kind of stuff, coupled with the disgusting ticket/food/parking prices is why I will never set foot in any of our local professional sports events.
And...end rant.

FranIAm said...

Sports is all a big ugly money game now.

I love your sense of justice about this and you are so right on.

And as others have said, any trip to any ballpark will cost you a ransom anyway.

DCup said...

Great idea, CDP!

Professional sports is just another subsidized big business for the wealthy, funded by the taxpayers and the working and middle classes.

I have some ideas for what those owners can do with the bats.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'm down with you sister. Anytime someone wants to stick it to the man I'm in.

CDP said...

Spartacus--Mets fan or not, your comments are still welcome.

WM--Yeah, nice site selection

Fran--I'm all about the justice!

Dcup--you crack me up, I didn't even think of that!

Dr. M--I always know that I can count on you to assist in any rabble-rousing efforts.

Dr. Zaius said...

Damn season ticket holders and the horse they rode in! I hope that they can't find a place to park it. You have been tagged. (My sincerest apologies.)

CDP said...

Dr. Z--I don't mind being tagged. I'll be there shortly.

Worker Mommy said...

Aah the madness is happening there too. Right now the hottest sports debate is about letting the Sonics go.
They're all whiney about Key Arena not being up to par. If ultimately it is decided to build them a new stadium somewhere else or renovate The Key I sure in the hell hope they don't pull any parking crap like that which is going on in your neck of the woods.
Gimme an f'in break!

susan said...

Good point. We used to go to Fenway Park years ago - before the Selig/corporate sponsored takeover of baseball. There was street parking if you didn't mind a walk which we never did. The seats were cheap, the games were great and it was all low-key.
Things have been getting weird all over since then. Seattle did the same thing as DC when they tore down the dangerous old Kingdome and replaced it at great public expense (and anger) with Safeco Field. It's so expensive and do you really need to have full-blown wide screen entertainment to fill every moment or your very own waitress stopping by every 5 minutes?
The first one to get Dcup's bat treatment should be Doug Selig.

CDP said...

WM--So it seems that this is everywhere, not just East Coast...I say we foment a rebellion!

Susan--yes! Bend over Mr. Selig!

Distributorcap said...

cdp ---

i havent gone to a sports event in years (ok i lied -- i went to a yankee game last year only because a client wanted to go and i felt like i had to) due to the fact i REFUSE to support or show approval of athletes getting paid ridiculous sums of money.

the last knick game i went to was probably over 10 years ago, the last met game was in 1993, the last ranger game probably when i was in high school. the last giant game was over 10 years ago and i have never been to a jet game since they moved to NJ in 1984.

first a day at Yankee stadium for a family of 4 has to cost over $500 these days. what family can afford that?

floor seats at Madison Sq Garden are $200 face price. for one stinking game with a lousy team. and people go, companies pay.

i am SO glad the stadium deal in manhattan fell through. as far as i am concerned all sports can just go away.

BeckEye said...

I used to be a baseball fanatic in the '80s, but after that strike in '92 (I think it was '92...maybe '91?) I finally gave up on it. It's not like football. In football, there is a chance that ANY team could go to the Super Bowl any given year. (Despite what Pay-tree-uts fans think.) In baseball, it's all about who has the money. Having been a Pirates fan who saw all of our great players leave i the '90s to go where the money was, dismantling any semblance of a viable team, it was very frustrating. Then, they spent a gazillion dollars on a brand new stadium which, while beautiful, wasn't going to help our TEAM go anywhere. And I really don't think it's really boosted tourism in the area.

pistols at dawn said...

Here's how I deal with this problem: watching games on TV. The only people wearing suits in Suitland are wearing orange prison jumpsuits.

CDP said...

Dcap--Fight the power, dude.

BeckEye--I also started to lose interest in baseball in the 90s. I'm from Philadelphia, and you will not be one bit surprised to know that I have never been to Pittsburgh, so I'm one of the tourists that didn't come to see your new stadium. (you guys hate us, don't you?)

PAD--Maryland question: Would you rather have to move to Suitland or Fruitland? Both are damn silly names, but you probably stand a better chance of avoiding dying by gsw in Fruitland.

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