Just when you think the Seattle Mariners can't make any real news in the month of October, dumb luck strikes again.
For you see, your beloved Mariners, in an attempt to further "win over" their fans, decided to ask the most loyal of them for a little extra help by restructuring prices for season-ticket holders according to the Seattle Times:
The hike is one of several the Mariners have quietly implemented for 2013 as part of a multifaceted price restructuring, though none of the literature sent to season-ticket holders indicates costs are going up. Full-season plans will rise as much as 6.9 percent in some sections, while 40-game weekend packages are up 3.7 to 10.6 percent in the more desirable main-level locations.
It's bad enough the M's are raising prices on the one portion of the fan-base that might actually show up for games, but downright ridiculous that the team tried to pass this off with the hope that no one would notice.
Seriously, in this day and age where everyone knows everything about everyone all the time, the Mariners didn't think someone would speak out about this?
For years now we've all grown to expect this from banks, utilities and telecom providers who think we're just stupid enough not to notice a document that's so long and written with so much dense legal language that we just sign off because we have neither the time nor patience to comb through it.
How many times have you seen a bill with an added "operational cost," "service fee" or "account maintenance charge" tacked on without explanation?
Can anyone say "shameless money-grab?"
This is just another sign from the top down that the Mariners organization doesn't think very highly of its fans.
But wait, with this extra money, maybe the Mariners will actually invest in the team?
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times questions the accountability of ownership in his column by asking this very question:
Don't we now have irrefutable proof the Mariners are going to make a big play for free agent Josh Hamilton? Or at least aren't they going to chase outfielder B.J. Upton and introduce him to the newer, friendlier confines of Safeco Field?
Why else would the Mariners, coming off their fourth losing season in five years, increase ticket prices for 2013?
Surely they must have a master plan to improve their product next season. They have targeted prime available players (and I'm not talking about Nick Swisher) and simply are asking their fan base to pay their fair share.
Kelley then concludes his piece by asking the Mariners for a guarantee...
Higher expectations should come with these higher ticket prices. Why shouldn't Mariners fans demand a surprise season like Oakland just had?Why shouldn't they demand the team finally discover a hitter who can deliver an OPS of .800 or higher? And why shouldn't they refuse to pay more in 2014 if their expectations aren't met next year?
This is the season of truth for the Mariners. The 2013 season should come with a few guarantees.
Fact is, there won't be a guarantee, and until further notice, these price hikes are essentially paying for the Mariners' not-so-extreme home makeover.
Whether that actually attracts free-agent talent remains to be seen, but even then I'm left to wonder.
Is this an organization truly capable of bringing in the right group of players to field an exciting team that can win 80+ games and flirt with the postseason?
Understand I'm not asking for a miracle, let alone anyone to be fired or sell the team, simply because I have a hard time seeing any of those things happening any time soon. Besides, I think general manager Jack Zduriencik is doing the best he can with the resources available, but at the same time is probably running out of time.
Unfortunately the Mariners have many problems and very few answers; however, I'd imagine that the success in Oakland this past season can't be helpful to either Jack Z or manager Eric Wedge.
Honestly, I'm not sure I like the lightning in a bottle approach given how poorly the 2010 campaign ended up faring, or has everyone managed to forget we're still paying for Chone Figgins?
At any rate, the Mariners once again seem damned if they do and equally damned if they don't, no matter how you want them to construct their roster.
Besides, it's not like it's any of your business anyway...
It's just upsetting that the price of loyalty keeps going up while the return on investment keeps going down.
"Mariners Baseball...lowering fences, raising prices and crushing your dreams!"