Orioles are making progress on the field, but off the field it’s still the same old s**t

May 15, 2012 | Drew Forrester

It’s with great delight that I report to you that our Baltimore Orioles currently occupy first place in the American League East.  I know it’s a marathon — not a sprint — but just to see the team play good baseball again reminds me of what COULD be if things fall into place for our orange feathered friends.

The team is winning, so that’s a good thing.

Unfortunately, it’s with sadness that I tell you about a marketing/operational blunder that has been going on this season, and, perhaps, even in years past.

On the field, the team is doing great.  Off the field…not so much.

This story isn’t going to be followed anywhere else in town.  The Sun wouldn’t write about it, the team’s “FM partner” at 105.7 certainly won’t touch it, and it’s far too slippery for the apologists at Orioles Hangout to discuss and debate.

But I’ll try and defend the baseball fans in town who are getting the shaft.

The Orioles host “Student Night” when they play a Friday night home game.  As part of that promotion, any student with a valid school I.D. can purchase a left field upper reserve ticket for just $6.00.

To me, that’s a helluva deal.  I don’t care where you are in the stadium, a baseball ticket for the price of two grande lattes is a bargain any day, anywhere.

Except when you can’t actually purchase the ticket for $6.00.

And that, evidently, is what’s been going on in Baltimore this season.

Several WNST listeners reached out to me over the weekend and into Monday of this week to describe their frustration at what some are considering a “bait and switch” tactic by the Orioles.  One of those who contacted me has been burned TWICE this season — once a few weeks back when Oakland was in town and then again this past Friday when the Rays were in Baltimore.

Here’s how it works:  The tickets are $6.00.  You arrive at the ticket window and ask for a $6.00 “student ticket”.  Unless you’re one of the lucky few who arrived in time to be part of the “limited availability”, you’re told there are no more six dollar tickets remaining…but, fortunately for you, $18 tickets are still available for you to purchase.

What a nice way to treat the students.

This wasn’t one e-mailer complaining.  This was a handful.  At least six people reached out to me after this Friday’s game against the Rays and two others (one was a duplicate from this past Friday) contacted me after the A’s game.

I reached out to the Orioles yesterday (Monday) to ask them a few questions about their ticket procedure.  The Orioles didn’t return my e-mail request and offered no comment at all on the situation.

I gave them the benefit of the doubt originally.  After all, until they’ve had a chance to state their case, there’s no use in getting up in arms over something that could have a very reasonable explanation attached to it.

But, as is their custom, the Orioles elected NOT to comment on the situation rather than provide the truth or, at the very least, come clean with enough information that others might not get stuck at the ticket window with six dollars in their hand and no ticket to show for it.

I’m not sure what the truth is, but this much looks clear to me: Based on their web-site, 12 sections of the stadium (368-388) are marked in purple and are sold as “LF Upper Reserve”.  That would roughly appear to be about 4,000 seats.  On the team’s website, it reads “based on availability” when highlighting the Student I.D. discount.  Fair enough.  Is that ALL of the LF Upper Reserve?  Or only part of it?  Are 4,000 seats available at $6.00 each?  Or only 1,000 of the 4,000?

These are the questions I wanted to pose to the Orioles, in order to answer the questions from those who have gone to the ballpark on Friday and learned that those $6.00 seats are no longer available.

But the Orioles wouldn’t answer me.

So…their fans lose.

(Please see next page)