Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Rainout? Doesn’t matter to the team!

Posted by mizzou1028 on April 3, 2011

So my dad and I had tickets for today’s game at Coors Field between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.  It was 84 degrees yesterday, so tickets to a Sunday afternoon game seemed like a no brainer right?  Wrong.  The bad weather moved in faster than an Albert Pujols batting practice shot.  When we went to breakfast it was 60 degrees and sunny.  By the time we got to the ballpark four hours later it was in the 40s and dropping rapidly, not to mention it started snowing.  We were pretty sure there wasn’t going to be a ballgame but here we were driving down to the stadium anyway. Despite the clear bad weather, the parking attendants were happily taking money from people.  When we got inside the stadium, the restaurants and concession lines were all packed, not to mention the team store, which was so crowded you couldn’t move without elbowing someone.

Meanwhile, while the money was flowing courtesy of all the unfortunate fans who were packed to the gilds on the concourses because they did want to sit in their seats in the pouring rain.  After all, we all know how exciting a baseball field is when it’s covered up by a tarp.  The snow was falling harder by the minute.  There was nothing on the scoreboard except the logos of the two teams.  No announcements, no mentions of when or if the game might start.  The other scores around the league were still being updated out in right field, which seemed very bizarre because no one was in the seats to see that.  We broke down and decided to get hot dogs ourselves.  I checked my phone to see if I could get a weather update that way, and when I popped up my scoreboard app, all it said for our game is “delay – top 1st” which was a bad sign considering first pitch was still 20 minutes away.  1:10 came and went, and still no update.

Pretty soon we started to hear cheers from the few that were paying attention to the field.  The grounds crew was coming out, they began to pull off the bags that were holding the tarp in place.  This did seem strange given that it was still snowing hard, but for all we knew, the weather was about to move out and they knew it.  Nope, the first announcement we heard all day came next: “Fans your attention please.  Today’s game has been postponed.  No makeup date has been announced.  Tickets for today’s game will be good for the rescheduled game.”

Now, we were fortunate to have tickets and a parking pass that we didn’t have to pay for, but for most of the other fans today was money down the drain without any real return on it, save for a buzz or maybe a sweatshirt.  Most of the fans in attendance had plopped down $13 for parking.  Many had spent more money on beer, soda, hot dogs and other food.  Worst yet perhaps was that most fans had paid pretty good money for seats.  Let’s say a family of four bought upper deck seats.  That’s $100 right there.  Plus you add in the drive down to the stadium at inflated gas prices and you get the idea.  Sure, fans can use their tickets for the rescheduled game, but that means another parking fee, more concessions and more gas.  Plus another program perhaps.  Not to mention, the rescheduled game will not be on a Sunday afternoon.  It will be during the week because the two remaining visits to Denver by the Diamondbacks are during the week.  If fans are lucky, it will be on May 23rd, which is a Monday and a common off day for both teams.  Otherwise, it could well be part of a midweek day night doubleheader, which means an afternoon game during the week.  Either way, fans will not be getting what they thought they were buying, and in many cases will not be able to make the rescheduled game and will thus eat the money for their tickets anyway.

I do not mean to imply that rainouts shouldn’t happen.  They will always be a part of baseball and are inevitable. I certainly do not think it would have been wise to play game in those conditions.  However, anyone with half a brain could have looked at the weather forecast, which was guaranteed to be lousy, and postponed the game well in advance.  Everyone knew precipitation was coming in at some point during the day.  It would have made sense to postpone the game early in the morning, get the word out through radio and social media, and save everyone the trouble and hassle of driving downtown for nothing.  It would have been fair to the fans to postpone the game with enough notice once it became clear it was not going to be played (it was clear to me two hours before first pitch, and I’m not the one with access to all the weather data they have).

It is obvious to me that the reason they waited until after the game’s scheduled start to make any kind of announcement was money.  Remember there was no in stadium announcement whatsoever until the postponement.  By waiting several hours to reveal any information, the Rockies pocketed who knows how much money in parking fees, concessions and merchandise.  I even saw several poor souls buying tickets at the window outside the stadium as we walked in (a good hour before the announcement of the postponement).  To be fair, fans at this point could have used their head and not bought tickets.  On the other hand, they probably headed to the ballpark much earlier, maybe even had called the team to find out if the game would be played.  In any case, by waiting mere hours to postpone the game, the Rockies made a ton of money for themselves at the expense of their fans, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet in this poor economy.   To me, being able to use the ticket for the rescheduled game is a nice and very fair gesture, but many fans will not be able to take advantage of that.  Besides, they will once again have to pay for parking and many will likely buy concessions again.  For us, this was a trip to the ballpark for an expensive hot dog.  For many others, it was a planned family outing that certainly didn’t live up to the billing, and caused a hit to the wallet without any benefit in return.  Next time the weather is very clearly ugly, I hope the Rockies and other MLB teams keep their fans in mind and give them the courtesy they deserve.  Make an effort to decide one way or the other whether a game will be played in a timely manner.  If you’re more than 50 percent sure it won’t be played, call it.  Don’t wait until you’ve gouged your customers.  Going to a game these days is expensive as it is.  Don’t force your fans into paying added expenses for no reason.

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