Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grumpy old men will grumpy. We can be grumpy, too.

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.


Anonymous said...

Look, pal, this column space ain't gonna fill itself.

eyebleaf said...

Couldn't agree more, Tao. Sick to death of this "story."

sarah said...

What? Jays tickets are expensive? The only way I can convince my sports hating friends to come to games with me is by reminding them how cheap it is.

Tao of Stieb said...

There are cheap tickets, and some tickets that probably need to be priced downwards.

Still, I paid 21 bucks last year for a seat right behind the Mariners dugout, and I had a great time out there.

People need to get over their notion that they are owed everything in the world for a pittance.

Geddy Lee said...

If you sit in the 500s, it's very cheap. Ironically, I could easily afford the best seats in the house, but I am often comped with seats behind the plate because I sang the theme to "Strange Brew."

Eat it, suckers!

Tao of Stieb said...

If you were really Geddy Lee, and you'd just made a Strange Brew reference, you'd have called us "hosers". And you'd have told us to take off, eh.

Of course, the other issue is that Geddy Lee didn't do the theme song to that movie, but Ian Thomas did.

Then again, maybe this is Geddy and Ian engaging in their longstanding feud on my blog.

Raine Maida said...

Naw, I was just pretending to be Geddy Lee. Sorry.

Raven said...

great read! i honestly can't wait for you to compile all of these posts into a wonderfully cynical book about the trials and tribulations of a blue jay fan, dated after we finally reach our pennant dreams...

title it 'playoffs!!!1'

kingofcabbagetown said...

My list of gripes (non-team related) in order of importance:

1. Roof not open enough (should be open any time if is not raining/snowing and over 10 degrees)
2. Beer lines too long
3. Nachos with NO jalapenos
4. That usher prick who kicked me out last year for drinking rum - PRICK!
5. Cito (had to get that in)

Meredith said...

I was fist pumping by the end of this post.

Tao, you're best with a bee in your bonnet. So good.

William said...

Great post and well said. The Jays aren't going anywhere.