Don't get us wrong on this. We're not trying to be ageist.
And truth be told, we're one of the grumpiest guys we know, and old (but certainly not wise) beyond our years. The other night, we nearly pulled all of our vertebrae out of whack just getting off the couch.
But seriously: Can we have a moratorium on "features" writers and goofballs from the "news" and "City" and "Life" sections of the newspapers stepping into the Rogers Centre like the hobbyists they are on a quote hunt to prove their thesis that the Jays are fucked and on their way out of town?
And this, folks, is where we really get grumpy. Those of us who went to journalism school know that from the moment you walk through the hallowed halls, the instructors blow all sorts of smoke up your ass about what a noble pursuit you are about to undertake, speaking truths to power and acting as an advocate and a voice for the People and to the People. Democracy and all that is good with the world depends on the eyes and words and honesty and truth of character that is found at the core of the journalist, and we must endeavour to use this power for the sake of humanity...
...And then, we'll just come up with horseshit theses off the top of our head, and go get three quotes that confirm them and call it a "feature". A story that really emphasized the "Dickensian Aspect".
Sorry...we're getting a little side-tracked here. This post was supposed to be about catchers and a bullpen that seems unable of getting men out, and somewhere along the line, it's turned into a screed over the ridiculous story written by the Star's Sandro Contenta. The article, wherein Mr. Contentedtofocusonthesurface found a bunch of curmudgeonly old dudes to complain about how expensive the tickets are, and how expensive the beer is, and how in Boston, you can get a hat and tickets on the Monster and a neckrub from Adrian Beltre for $29. ($28 with the new favourable exchange!)
(Stop me before I subreference again here...but are we the only ones who finds that Boston story a little weird? Especially considering that everyone we know who has gone to Fenway has paid a small fortune for just their seat, and generally not a great seat. It just doesn't smell right. If we were a reporter, we might even double-check a quote like that.)
And let's not forget the token former Expos fan, who always makes an appearance, as some sort of Ghost of Things Yet to Come...nevermind the fact that the situations are completely different, and that the Jays still get good TV and radio numbers and are relevant beyond a handful of diehards who had the endurance to put up with the chicanery of Claude Brochu and Jeffrey Loria. (Those boys were pretty hard core.)
And then there's Hayley Mick's piece in the Globe today, where she finds a bunch of other dudes who speak wistfully about paying $2 for tickets at the Ex. You know what else was $2 in the 70's? A house in Riverdale. (Actually, we didn't double-check that figure. Call it a guesstimate.)
The Globe article goes on to feature the traditional whining about the cost of stuff at the ballpark, as though the people there are all impoverished virgins who have never paid $10 for movie popcorn or $6 for a hotdog at Canada's Wonderland or $9 for a pint of beer at the James Joyce Pub in Calgary. Apparently, the Blue Jays are the only organization in the world that deems it necessary to charge $10 for a 24 oz. tasty beverage, and the outrage from that fact shall never dampen, never dim.
In fairness to Ms. Mick, she did manage to find a couple of younger dudes who don't have the locked-in nostalgia for the prices of times past, and are used to spending $50 on a t-shirt and $100 on a pair of jeans and who get the notion that $57 for a ticket to the ballgame isn't the most crushing disappointment that life has to offer.
Which isn't to say that we don't think that tickets are a little too expensive, and that there aren't things that the organization is going to have to do to stop the bleeding and make the experience a better one for everyone.
But let's just put a moratorium on the worst-case-scenario stories. There's a better story to be told here, about how the Jays papered over problems for much of the last decade with free tickets and deep discounts and giveaways, and that we've only started to see the crisis of consumer confidence in this product.
Crowds will be up come summer, and then these stories will fade a bit. But the underlying problems will exist, and it would be nice to see the real story written, rather than the blather that is being floated around now.