The Cost of Being a New York Yankees Fan

RandyContributor IMarch 24, 2009

NEW YORK - JULY 11:  Fans look at a model of the New Yankee Stadium that will open in the spring of 2009 at the DHL All-Star Fan Fest for the Major League Baseball 2008 All-Star Game July 11, 2008 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.   (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

As I prepare to order seats to go to visit the Yankees in their new park in the Bronx, I'm thinking...$130 for two seats in the upper deck outfield. A couple of years ago that would pay for prime time seats behind the dugout, but I need to go and see the brand new stadium.

This follows the last visit I had in the old Yankee Stadium a few years ago that was, let's say, less pleasant than I would have hoped. I then had purchased tickets early in the year (January or February) for upper deck boxes just to the right of home plate.  The game wasn't until late August against a weak opponent: the Baltimore Orioles.

I looked forward to the game because unlike old times in years past, I was always good to go to at least a few games, but now living in NJ and the expense of tickets and traveling, had cut those trips down to just one game.

I also usually tried to make it a family experience by taking the kids who are now in their 20's. It was a Saturday night game and we were running a little late hitting traffic coming over the GWB (George Washington bridge).

Arriving in the second inning, we rushed to enter after parking the car, we had our tickets scanned and was told our tickets had been refunded, please go to one of the ticket windows. I had to ask the attendant a few times because I wasn't comprehending nor understanding what he was saying.

I finally understood I was to go to a ticket window where I was told the Yankees had canceled my tickets and Ticketmaster was refunding the cost, and we were being given free tickets to the game, last row reserved seats in left field.

To say I was offended, embarrassed and pissed being kind.  I was fuming.

I didn't care too much about the game at that point, I think the Yankees lost. I almost became a non-fan, I swore the Yankees would not see my face in that stadium any time soon and maybe never.

I did write in a complaint, and finally received a letter from the Yankees apologizing with the story, the seats we had been sold were rescinded and used for team and family use.

I think the real story was at the beginning of the year that game was not considered to be a feature game but as the season evolved the game turned out to have more importance than originally planned hence the sudden urgency to use those tickets for others of more importance or at a higher price.

It points out dramatically what the Yankees feel about Joe-average fan we are expendable. The average fan who is all but priced out of these games now holds little meaning to an organization like the Yankees.

And if they can be defended, it also points out how the business of sports has swallowed the interests of the every day fan, who can generally just watch the game on TV (if you get the YES network).

The costs of everything involved with attending one of these games is outrageous, from the gas and tolls, to the parking, and the cost of franks, peanuts, popcorn and beverages. To take the average family of four will easily cost you conservatively $300+ for one game!

I've been a fan of the Yankees since the early '60s and like most habits I'd find it difficult not to follow the team I've learned to love and have grown up with since the M&M boys were the talk of the town. 

The Yankees do things big, that's the Yankee way, we (the fans) have become spoiled by the success and the dominance of teams past.

We have not accepted failure well, the Yankees spoil us by trying to buy the best players, have the best minor league organizations and now a new fan worthy state of the art stadium. We are not disappointed when the team spends millions to improve, we may not win but you know we expect to be contenders. 

That's what others and we expect as NY fans. (Known as the Evil Empire in bean-town)

Many fans are also spoiled and act like the snooty rich man's kids, to listen to some of these fans now is embarrassing.  People seem to forget this is a huge business involving a game played by men making tons of money. 

Whether A-Rod gets a hit or strikes out in the scheme of things today means nothing. There are people living on the streets, and giving away their life long pets because they can't afford them.

My attitude as a fan has changed, I will never root for the team as a fanatic like I did when I was younger, I understand that other teams generally are better now. The Yankees still have a financial edge but as has been seen in recent years, because you have the most money doesn't always guarantee you success.

The Yankees have had many successful seasons, they can't win every year, the days of dynasties are passed. We should be thankful they've had the success they've had and accept they can't win every year. 

As a fan we should try to appreciate the efforts of the blue-collar player that busts his butt, hustles and plays all out. (Not too many of these spoiled/rich players do, say what you will about Pete Rose, but he earned the nickname 'Charlie Hustle.')

If a player is wearing pinstripes, it means he's on our team, regardless of A-Rod's off the field escapades, and arguments about he's not a true Yankee, he's not home grown, etc. 

If he or another player is struggling, the player, the media and other team's fans expect you to boo him, when in fact you the real fan should be encouraging him.

I hope I can enjoy the game in July when I get there and there are no ticket surprises at the gate, nothing much surprises me anymore, I'll start saving my pennies so I can have a ballpark frank, and sing take me out to the ball game in the seventh inning, before they figure out a way to charge for that, too.