Post Lockout, NFL Still Gouging Season Ticket Holders!

OK. I’m excited! Football season is upon us and I’m as happy as anyone that the NFL lockout has ended. No longer threatened are my annual Fall rituals of obsessing over two fantasy football teams, outguessing the field in three weekly pick ’em pools, and feeding my crack-like addiction to the NFL RedZone channel. And those guilty pleasures take a back seat to my family’s ritual of hopping a ferry boat each Seahawks’ Sunday to float the pond that is Puget Sound to attend each and every home game of my beloved, albeit emotionally abusive, hometown team.

Like many pro football fans, I don’t get too excited about, or put much stock in, NFL preseason games. However, one novelty about them I do enjoy is the prospect of watching a football game while sitting outdoors, at night, wearing shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops, without freezing my footballs off! Yeah, IN SEATTLE!! It’s happened before. It can happen again. And I can’t let the thought of it go. But I digress…

What I don’t dig is being forced to pay regular season prices for each of two home preseason games. Forced by my hometown team, courtesy of a league-wide NFL policy. All for the privilege of purchasing an entire season’s worth of tickets (at a slightly discounted rate off the single-game ticket price). Seriously? For PRESEASON FOOTBALL? Yeah. *sigh* That’s like paying full price admission to only watch batting practice at the #Mariners…..oh, but you get the right to spend that much again to actually watch the game tomorrow. It’s a dress rehearsal at opening night prices. C’mon, Man!

Meaningless football and sloppy play notwithstanding, these preseason tickets are for games played on non-customary days that start at odd times. These games are played during one of the busiest months of the year for many families. It’s the end of summer, when youth baseball tournaments are squeezed into the precious few remaining weekends of the break. Soccer tournaments are hitting full stride. Families are squeezing the last bit o’ fun out of the vacation season.

So, I ask, “Are you kidding me?” I can’t GIVE these tickets away, let alone could I muster the audacity to ask ANYONE to PAY me for them. I consider it a moral victory if I can simply avoid having the money I paid, at regular season prices, from going to waste altogether.

I’m not normally one to beat the “greedy billionaire owners/ungrateful players” drum. But would I like to see the NFL’s regular season expanded to eighteen games? ONLY if they simply make one of the existing two home preseason games count for each team WITHOUT tacking on another preseason dress rehearsal, for which I have to pay regular season prices. Somehow, I don’t see that happening. After all, they’re already getting their money as it is.

So, I guess I’m beating that drum.


West Coast League Summer College Baseball is a Jewel: Players are Truly “Boys of Summer”

Thanks to my job, I found myself needing to pay particularly close attention to the last three weeks of the West Coast League baseball season, which included divisional playoffs and a championship series.  The final game was tonight, an 11-4 Corvallis Knights (@CorvKnights) victory over the Walla Walla Sweets (@WWSweets), a sweep of the WCL championship series 2-0.

Even though I had no dog in the hunt (I’m a fan of my local team, the #Kitsap BlueJackets @Bluejackets_kit), I found myself listening to tonight’s game on my laptop via the Sweets’ streaming radio feed. The live play-by-play added extra excitement to the half-inning updates both teams provided on Twitter, the same kind of updates I’ve followed a lot over the last few weeks!

What I’m getting at is…the West Coast League is a jewel, man!  And I don’t mean a jewel like a Klamath Falls Gem (@KFallsGems), which I learned is a type of potato; that’s why their mascot is “Tater”.  I mean a jewel like a diamond, as in an engagement ring (or even a baseball diamond for that matter).  The problem is, not enough people know that the WCL is a “jewel”.  Not enough baseball fans in Kitsap County know it or show it, anyway.  But now I know it, just like many other folks seem to know it in other #WCL towns.

The reason I know it is because I had the pleasure of attending games in Bellingham (@BhamBells), Wenatchee (@AppleSox), and Walla Walla earlier this month.  At each stop I was blown away by the number of people who knew about the “jewel”.  That is, they knew about the budget-friendly, family-friendly good time there is to be had at every home game of their home town team.  In those places, they know that a good place to be on a summer night is at the ol’ ball game.  They know that the PNW’s version of a summer collegiate baseball league, where the rosters are filled with active college baseball players with at least one more year of eligibility and maybe dreams of playing beyond that, is a “jewel” where you’ll find the Boys of Summer.