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

May 15, 2012 | Drew Forrester

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

I have no idea why the Orioles would limit the number of student tickets they sell.  That makes no sense at all.  If an 18-year old high school student shows up with 3 friends and they put $24.00 up and say, “Four tickets, please”, they should be sold four, $6.00 tickets.  Period.  I’m sure the team is fully aware of their ticket selling woes over the last half-decade or so.  They can’t possibly be in the business of turning folks away who have money and want to buy a ticket, particularly a young fan who could very well turn into a fan (or not) based on their game-day experience.

A couple of people noted to me via e-mail that Student Night has become somewhat of a problem, because a lot of the college kids are using it for “Get Drunk at the Ballpark Night” and creating havoc throughout the evening.  That might very well be true.  But that’s an “in-stadium” problem.  That kind of stuff needs to be handled by the operations folks inside the ballpark.  That would be akin to owning a bar and cutting off the drinks at 10:30 pm because “I don’t need people in here getting drunk and going home after midnight.”

When people show up at the ticket window, with money, you need to sell them the ticket they thought they were buying.

Or, at the very least, you have to be MUCH more forthcoming about what “limited availability” means.

One e-mailer told me his son was told by one of the ticket staffers that the availability expires once the first pitch is thrown.  I almost can’t imagine that’s true, but nonetheless, that’s what was reported back to me.

Another parent says a guard INSIDE the ballpark told him they only sell 1,000 of the LF Upper Reserve seats to students.  I guess I could believe that, although I see no reason at all why that makes sense.

I’ll repeat:  If a student arrives at the window with money in hand, you sell him or her a $6.00 seat as long as the LF Upper Reserve seats are available.

That’s what a smart organization would do, anyway.

If after 14 years of losing you’re still arrogant enough to effectively chase people away who actually want to buy a ticket to see the home team — then shame on you.  Big time.  Shame, shame, shame.

Naturally, a lot of these questions could be answered if only the Orioles cared enough to answer a simple e-mail from a member of the media who has a legitimate inquiry.

The Ravens would have an answer out within 3-4 hours of receiving the e-mail.

Then again, they sell all of the seats in their stadium ahead of time.  They wouldn’t encounter the problem the Orioles have, which is coming up with unique ways to attract folks to the ballpark on a Friday night.

And as someone who created his fair share of ticket-selling concepts during my former life in the soccer business, I completely understand the need to do some “outside the box” thinking to get people into the facility.

When a kid shows up with six dollars and wants a ticket, you need to sell it to him or her.

It’s that simple.

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26 Comments For This Post

  1. John Says:

    This happened to me a few years ago. I remember looking at the student section thinking “that doesn’t look full” and here I had to buy the more expensive tickets. Lol

  2. Jake Says:

    If I walk up on a Friday night and they refuse to sell me a student ticket, I’m more than happy to sit in a local pub and watch the game for free… shame on the Orioles. They should also be ashamed for charging a $1 walk-up fee as well.

  3. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    Earlier this month, I caught “Oriole Fever”; however, that’s been cured by a “dose” of….reality! Maybe you can get by without a legitimate third baseman, first baseman and left fielder, but only if the pitching holds up. Lately, the pitching seems to have fallen apart, which only puts pressure on those other posaitions. It was too early to get excited about this team and it’s to early to get down on them. So, I’ll continue to take it one day at a time and hope for more entertaining games with better outcomes. That being said, every time I hear of management’s continued abuse of the fans, it rankles. At some point, this franchise could use a jolt of common sense………..

  4. Charlie Says:

    Drew,
    I was one of the parents who contacted you. Thanks for trying to get an answer. This was the second time it occurred with my sons and their buddies so they are unfortunately learning firsthand about the ineptitude and lack of caring within Camden Yards. It’s a little funny that I pulled both my boys out of elementary school early a few years back to attend the “Free the Birds” event. They didn’t have a great appreciation for the “why” back then but they sure do now.
    Some of my best memories in HS and College were $3 nights in Memorial Stadium; my kids are looking for a similar good time that I experienced rather than being treated as merely disposable fans. It sure would be refreshing if the O’s would respond in the right way(s) on future student nights and get all this right for the kids!

  5. Kerry Says:

    Instead of trying to get a customer for life at 18, the O’s continue to piss off a generation that has not seen what a winning baseball team looks like except when the Yankees and Red Sox come to town.

  6. justafan Says:

    Getting drunk at the ballpark is not merely an in-stadium problem. I attended Friday nights game. I go to the ball park via light rail. On the way home, the light rail was packed with drunk college kids . Fights nearly broke out and if cooler heads did not prevail, you would have read about it in the Baltimore Sun.( That is if they chose to report it.)So, if a kid can afford six or more beers at $8 a pop, they surely can afford to pay $18 for a seat, whether the $6 seats are available or not. (DF: These are high school kids we’re talking about who tried to get in last Friday night — they can’t buy beer at the ballpark.)

  7. Ted in Severna Park Says:

    Drew, I appreciate the fact that you are literally the only media member in town willing to take the customer’s issues right to the source. I’m not sure why others in town are so afraid of the team, but the fact you stand up for your listeners and web subscribers speaks to why your show is so popular. You know the answer to all of this, though. The answer lies clearly in the Orioles philosophy which is simple: “We run our team and you have no business questioning our policies or our way of doing things. Please just fall in line with everyone else and be thankful you have a game to watch.” They’ve sadly lost a generation of fans with stunts like the one they pulled last Friday night. And it’s clear they just don’t care. (DF: Couldn’t have said it better myself.)

  8. GlenW Says:

    Extremely short-sighted way of doing business by the Orioles. Very disappointing to hear about. Quick, somebody tell Bud Selig.

  9. justafan Says:

    Drew, your article stated that college kids were using this promotion to “Get drunk at the ball park night.” Are you saying that only high school kids and not college kids are eligible for $6 tickets? Whether or not this is true, it is still a serious problem, not only in the stadium but also on public transportation. When I got off the light rail at Lutherville, kids were urinating in the parking lot. Whether the Orioles sell these tickets at #6 or $18, this type of behavior is unacceptable and should not be condoned. (DF: My blog said that TICKET HOLDERS were complaining about college kids drinking too much at the games. I don’t think that has anything to do with the team not following through on their obligation to sell a student a $6.00 ticket. These are two separate issues. Kids urinating in the light rail parking lot isn’t the fault of the Orioles. It’s the fault of the kids who have no respect for common decency. The issue I wrote about is the Orioles advertising and promoting a $6.00 ticket offer to “students” and then not having enough tickets to satisfy the demand and, more importantly, not publicizing the ground rules for those tickets.)

  10. Scott Says:

    Perhaps the silver lining is that many of these kids will now have a better appreciation for the right and wrong way to conduct business. Having two sports franchises in the same town with drastically different approaches to consumer satisfaction evidences a great example of what it takes to establish a successful and beloved franchise as compared to how you can alienate a fan base and suffer ineptitude on a scale never seen before in Baltimore. As these kids venture out into the world and eventually own their own businesses, I hope that they will look at these two opposing models to better understand how best to develop a loyal and appreciative customer base.

  11. Jason Manelli Says:

    Why don’t they get it? We’re customers! Haven’t they heard the axiom: ‘If we don’t take care of our customers, soomeone else will.’ For every letter you recieved, there are 10 other people who don’t say a word. They just don’t go back. If it weren’t for MASN and the ‘Milk Money’ the O’s get from that deal (subscribers = cows), I don’t think they could even keep the lights on.

  12. Brie Says:

    Going to a ball game and blaming the Os for drunk college kids is like going to a concert and blaming Merriweather Post Pavillion for drunk college kids.

    People who are complaining about drunk college kids are missing the point. The point is the franchise won’t own up to what is really going on with student night. Could it have been a misunderstanding? Sure. But they need to explain themselves and that is Drew’s point.

  13. Bill Says:

    Your wrong. I was their Friday. My wife and I tried to buy the cheapest ticket which happened to be in the student section, we were told that we can’t buy these tickets because they were reserving them for students ,which I understood. This was at 6:30. As always Drew you don’t get the other side, true you called the Orioles n they should’ve responded but was that really the end of ur investigation. Not tryin to be smart just wondering?

    By the way we got tickets in he 300 level nd I’m sure their were 3000 students by me. And most were drunk nd many did not look over 21 . If you think for a minute that 18 yf olds booze too hard at bars for the game then you got to get out more before you g.o go he game. (DF: Here’s the deal chief. I received a total of nine (9) emails from people claiming they couldn’t buy a ticket on Friday night. Are all NINE of those people lying? If you think they are, that’s fine. I don’t think they are. I realize you’re an apologist for the team, but you look foolish posting garbage.)

  14. RJ Says:

    My research says that Team Angelos may have finally figured out how to field a winning team – that, my friend, is what Oriole Nation really wants!

  15. MSD Says:

    Drew, why doesn’t one of the high school kids or parents call the Orioles and get to the bottom of this. Even if they won’t answer you,
    perhaps a question from someone directly affected will get a result. It’d be worth a try!! (DF: I know of at least two who reached out to the team via e-mail and all they received in return was a form e-mail reply, thanking them for their question and “assuring” them someone from the Orioles would respond.)

  16. Mike from Carney Says:

    Why didn’t the 9 email the Orioles directly? Not one of them did that, so credibility is in question. (DF: How do you know any of them didn’t do that? Answer: You don’t. I’m always amazed at you people. It’s unreal. If the Sun covered this story (as they should), none of you would question anyone’s credibility. It’s hilarious, really, to see you and other apologists of your ilk try and make this story into something that it isn’t. This isn’t about a conspiracy or any other WNST-related topic. This is about the Orioles having a policy and not telling the fans what that policy is. That’s all the story is. Somehow, though, you just refuse to hold the team accountable. Fortunately for the people who were wronged, I will hold the club accountable.)

  17. Steve O'Hair Says:

    Like Charlie, I’m one of those parents who contacted you Drew and I continue to applaud you for the work you’re doing to try and get answers for us. I tried calling the Orioles on Tuesday and I’m still waiting on a return phone call. This has happened to my son three times in the last two years. We were told last year that only 1,000 tickets were set aside for this promotion and that after that, they weren’t selling anymore. My son arrived in line at 6:25 pm this past Friday and got to the window at 6:45 pm and he was told the tickets sold out in 10 minutes once the windows opened. There’s no way they can sell 1,000 tickets in 10 minutes. It’s impossible. Keep up the good work. As you noted in your blog piece, The Sunpaper and 105.7 The Fan would never do this for the fans. Thank you. Steve.

  18. amie Says:

    My second job is working in the Orioles box office. I can assure you that all of 368-388 was open and available for students to purchase. We sold out of those sections last Friday around the 3rd inning. From there we had $15 seats, which also filled up pretty quickly. And then onto $18. Students were still paying. Most of whom had little complaints about the situation. They were getting there (drunk) a third of the way into the ballgame. The Orioles are winning so naturally more people are going to see them right now.

    Why should the Orioles lose out on more money because some kids who couldn’t get to the game on time missed out on the cheaper seats? Furthermore, why should the ones who get there later wind up with better seats, closer to behind home plate, while kids who got there on time to ensure $6 seats wind up sitting in the 25th row of section 388? (DF: Someone’s lying. I have emails from people who said they were told at 7:15 pm (that would be first inning, maybe) that the student tickets were sold out. I’m sure people DID pay the upcharge. Some, however, didn’t. And this issue about students getting there “drunk”…what does that have to do with anything? And what about high school age kids who showed up sober and got in line at 6:30 pm and were told at 6:50 pm the tickets were sold out? Have your boss contact me (drew@wnst.net) and we’ll easily straighten this out and find out what the policy is. I’ll note you didn’t tell me what the policy was…you just tried to tell me what happened last week. And I’d be careful with the “we’re winning so naturally more people are going to see them right now…” It didn’t look like that on Monday and Tuesday night when the Yankees were in town.)

  19. Tom S Says:

    The biggest complaint I see here is that they should say clearly how many tickets are sold on Student Night before they are sold out of those seats. I am of the opinion they should end the promotion. I missed my MARC Train to Aberdeen because I couldn’t get off Light Rail at University of Baltimore station. Yes, I know they need to fill seats, but when there are several thousand students who are clogging up Light Rail and make it impossible for people who use it for work to get off. It’s not worth having the promotion.

  20. Highlandtown Hank Says:

    I was a t a game when oak-town was here. I was told by a police officer that 45 students had been ejected that Friday. I think it’s screwed up if what DF is reporting is true, but think there is another side to the story. I mean, 45 students in one night! Just saying…

  21. John S. Says:

    and when you do buy a ticket and go support the team as my family did last Saturday night, after the fifth inning, there was no ketchup at 3 different condiment stations for hot dogs, no bbq, no mustard, the trash was running over…. maybe they didn’t expect 30,000+, but they should be prepared to offer basic services to their fans at the game. They should be rolling out the proverbial orange carpet for their fans who actually come to support them and buy a ticket, or at the very least, let us put ketchup on our hot dogs.

  22. Not a student anymore Says:

    I’ve been going to student night for about 10 years and always assumed that if you had a student ID and there was a left field upper reserve ticket available for the game then you were all set. There has only been one time that my friends and I couldn’t get tickets, and that entire game was sold out so I found it hard to believe that the Orioles have truly been unable to sell these kids tickets for these games. I was able to buy 3 student tickets at around 6pm for the April 27 Athletics game with my old student ID (graduated in 2010). I don’t even think the ticket guy would have asked to see the ID and he certainly didn’t care about the other two people I was buying tickets for. We’ve had other instances where the ticket seller wanted a student ID for each ticket being purchased. My point is that WHATEVER their policy is regarding which tickets are available AND what constitutes a student, there is a serious lack of consistency.

    The orioles shouldn’t discourage fans. Sell the tickets for $6 to anyone who asks. Sell ALL the tickets for $6, maybe more fans will show up!

  23. Charlie Says:

    Dear Amie,

    I will not call you a liar but I will call you incorrect as common sense prevails on this one. My kids were burned for the second time (out of three tries) on getting the Student Tickets in the past year. The “math says” that sections 368-388 constitutes twelve sections of 25 rows each (your reported number). Assuming an average of 15 seats in a row then 12*25*15 means that there were ~4,500 tickets available to students AND means that twelve entire sections of the stadium were completely sold out. Anyone who watched that game on TV or was there will verify that there were not twelve sold out sections of kids who would have been making enough noise to absolutely be noticed….that stadium would have been rocking. Camden Yards hasn’t had twelve sections completely sold out in the upper deck since Cal Ripken retired. The reality is that the seats are just not being made available as advertised and that the Orioles are pulling one over the public by making kids up pay for the $18 seats.
    BTW, if you really do work for the O’s you are likely fired by now as there is no way they would “allow” you to comment to WNST on what the policy is.

  24. Stoner Says:

    “it didn’t look like that when the Yankees were in town”…another dumb comment from DF. Most ppl stayed away Monday b/c of the 90% chance of rain and the possibility of a rainout. Last night had 24,000 on a weeknight w/potential of more rain. Get over it Drew. Your agenda is bs. You’re not in it “for the people”. It’s just another attempt to stick it to the O’s and their front office b/c they want nothing to do with you and Nestor. Nothing. And God love ‘em for that. (DF: What about the issue of the tickets? No comment on that, huh? Amazing. You people continue to chase US around as if we’re the problem. The team, meanwhile, refuses to tell their customers what their policies are and somehow we’re still the topic.)

  25. Robert Says:

    Man I get tired of reading on-line comments where the writers (hello Bill) obviously never learned their homonyms, ie. their, there, they’re. Regardless, the brass at the warehouse are a train wreck in almost every sense of the term, aside from this years winning, so far. I really wish the O’s remaining & rejoining fans would stop being a bunch of saps & stop tolerating the mistreatment by the team. Instead of being baited & switched by buying more expensive tickets, a far more effective response would be to walk away, or better yet, stop paying for MASN. Until the O’s feel it in the wallet, and I mean REALLY feel it, their behavior will not change. Cheers.

  26. bill Says:

    DF- I called and politely asked the policy. The person I spoke to was highly proffessional and explained patiently in great detail the details of the promotion. Roughly 3,000 seats are used in sections 368-388 rows 13-25. When these ran out, they opened up rows 1-12 for student sales. Then they opened up sections 360-365 for even more student sales. Thats alot of tickets. They stopped selling student tickets at 7:45. Stop hiding behind a computer screen and place a call to the team, or that’s right, you want to whine and bawl something negative about the Orioles every chance you get because the free tickets and buffet ended for you and the rest of the NST goofs….The orioles even responded officially on Orioles Hangout in the forum “Ask the Orioles”
    http://forum.orioleshangout.com/forums/showthread.php/119191-Ask-The-Orioles/page32
    Stop wasting people’s time with your classless stupidity and those “friends or listeners” that were stupid enough to ask you instead of calling the source, the Baltimore Orioles.

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