At last! So I thought before the Chicago Cubs lost against the Arizona Diamondbacks in National League’s baseball playoffs.
Long-suffering fans of the Cubbies (of which I was one until I realized it was a business masquerading as a sport) saw the possibility of a potential winner going all the way, doing something they haven’t accomplished in more than 60 years.
Sounds great, right?
One would think that all of the fans’ long-term loyalty would be rewarded in some way. Discounts on food and drink? Reasonable prices for Cubs paraphernalia? Normal prices for tickets? Think again!
Not only had the prices for tickets not come down, they entered the stratosphere. Taking advantage of tens of thousands of devoted fans, the owners and their co-conspirators decided to put the buck before the fans.
Standing-room-only tickets went for $175, while box seats were selling for as much as $9,000. One can only guess what the scalpers charged, and I’m not talking about the Cubs organization (although the shoe fits).
Channel 9, the longtime home of Cubs broadcasting, was sidelined in favor of cable networks only. For fans who lacked cable, the choices were (1) find a friend, (2) go to a bar, (3) listen on the radio … or, if you were mad as hell, tune them out completely.
Is professional baseball an activity for a working-class family outing? It could be, but the exorbitant prices for everything from tickets to food and drink kept many fans from seeing the games “live.”
The first two games were played in Arizona, where tickets were in the “reasonable” range. Too bad flights to Arizona cost more than some tickets sold to those games.
For all their unflagging devotion, Cubs fans deserve something better than what management is dishing up. It seems that the Cubs’ front office sees this opportunity as their only shot, and gouging is the order of the day. After all, isn’t that what capitalism is all about?
Bill Mackovich is a retired industrial worker in Chicago.