We've got to take issue with Jeff Blair's assertion in his latest blog post that "there is no downside" to this ticket selling scheme.
Just so we're clear: we've got nothing against making a buck. We try to do it every day. (Just not by blogging.) And yes, we get the fact that the Blue Jays' decision to sell tickets directly to the fans of the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox is a savvy use of Major League Baseball Advanced Media's databases.
Taken from a distance (the dispassionate distance from which Blair, or Griffin, or Fidlin or Elliot, or Sadler write), we could look at this and say: "Well, bully for them! What a bunch of smart cookies they are! Maximize revenues! Exploit new marketing opportunities!"
But we don't look at the Blue Jays as a business that sells tickets and in-stadium advertising.
If we listened to our dispassionate side, we wouldn't be frantically tapping out post after post, agonizing over John McDonald's role, or Lyle Overbay's hand, or Scott Rolen's headspace, or John Gibbons' lineup chicanery.
Nor would we buy retro powder blues (or fawn over them), or another Jays cap (to go with the five - count 'em, five - Jays caps that we already own). We wouldn't stop everything in our lives to sit and listen to Jamie Campbell prattle on about his baseball card collection, nor would we promise to spend an entire day antiquing with Mrs. Tao if only she'll let us watch this last half inning ("Seriously, Sweetie: just five more minutes!")
We wouldn't put up with hours of abuse from the brother-in-law when he gets dragged kicking and screaming to a Jays game (nor would we pay $50 for his ticket just for the privilege). We wouldn't shell out $5 on consecutive days for the exact same program, just so that we could keep score during the game.
And we wouldn't get this upset about a simple business transaction if we thought of the Blue Jays as a business.
But for us, it's not a business. It's a sacred trust.
Go ahead Blairsy: groan. Roll your eyes. We know that it is pathetically overwrought. We know that it's just a bunch of pampered millionaires hitting a horsehide ball with a wooden bat and catching it with a leather glove.
We know that the billionaire owner (Canada's second richest man, and for very good reason) determines the level of salary extravagance based on the club's ability to bums (any bums) in the seats. We're aware that if attendance had gone down last year or the year before, then maybe Vernon Wells or Alex Rios or Roy Halladay are playing in Arlington, or Miami, or Cincinnati this year.
To all of those with that level of detachment from the team: we sincerely envy you. Because it's not going to eat at you one little bit when the cheers from Red Sox Nation erupt on that opening homestand. It's not going to muddy the gleam of the new season for you at all.
But tell us this: When a member of the Red Sox drives in a run on that weekend, how will the front office quantify the impact of those extra cheering New Englanders on the home team's fans, especially since you went to such lengths to bring them here? It's going to be an awfully bitter pill to swallow, and there's nothing in Quicken Books that's going to help you make that equation.
We've waited all frickin' winter to cheer on our boys. So why did someone have to invite their fans to ruin the party?