Picking Your Seat
You get what you pay for, and that certainly was the case at Miller Park this past Tuesday night.
Fans watched their Brewers lose to the Reds 4-3 in typical fashion: Dave Bush spotting Cincinnati an early 4-0 lead as Brewers hitters failed to come through in the clutch, grounding into four double plays. A pair of Reds errors in the ninth helped make it close, but Milwaukee couldn't dig itself out of the hole.
That said, there were still 22,000 fans in the stands on a September school night, watching a local squad recently eliminated from the pennant race.
Say this for the Brewers: the didn't look like they were mailing it in. Neither was the usher I was watching on the field level down the left field line.
I had just latched onto a turkey wrap and was looking for a place to plop (I got in using my media pass and was catching the game from a bunch of different locations). I spotted a swath of empty seats (the nearest customer was at least 20 rows away) and grabbed a spot at the back of the section. The usher in question pounced, asking for my ticket. I flashed my pass, and he left me alone.
I watched as the same usher chased no less than ten other fans from the vacant seats, some who took the news with resignation and others who put up a bit of a stink. Some were drunk and a little belligerent. Others, like a father and his young son, shrugged their shoulders and walked away.
Did I mention that this was going on in the late innings, well after the sausage race as the crowd was sifting down to it's few remaining hard-core fans and the odd hophead savoring the last brew of the evening?
They announce it at the start of every game--please sit only in your ticketed seat. The club will argue that fans who pay top dollar for good chairs shouldn't have to sit next to bargain-seeking slackers who don't want to pony up. As a season ticket holder, I appreciate that.
Then there's the reality of a team that should be doing as much as it possibly can for those who show up on a late-season weeknight to see a game with no postseason ramifications for the Brewers. Should the team maybe tell it's ushers to stand down a bit and let folks grab a late inning seat? Remember, I wasn't sitting in high priced territory as I watched this. I was way down the left field line. Not exactly Uecker seats, but I knew I wasn't going to be rubbing elbows with Mark and Debbie Attanasio, either.
As for the usher in question, well, he's doing what he's told. If nothing else, I hope this guy's supervisor was watching because the dude should be Employee of the Month for the way he was protecting "ticket price integrity".
Maybe that boss would see what I saw--fans who, in an unwritten baseball tradition, moved down (or over) to a better seat late in the game. Fans should never be allowed to move from the last rows of the Terrace to the front of the Field Boxes and probably not until after the 7th inning stretch. There's the rule, and then there's common sense. On a Tuesday night late in the season, can't the club maybe look the other way and let the loyal customer pull up a better chair?