After this weekend at Safeco Field, I’d like to make an exchange with the Mariners:
I’d like to present all the players with shiny new participation trophies because I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that they tried their best.
In return, I think their fans deserve some form of a refund.
Now, I completely understand the bad luck – the rash of injuries that’s devastated the starting pitching rotation, along with the injuries to Mitch Haniger and Robinson Cano. But that doesn’t mean fans should have to pay full price to witness the embarrassment we saw this weekend. 33,000 fans on Jay Buhner Bobblehead night watched the M’s get clobbered, 16-1, and then another 36,000 fans – many of them youngsters for Little League Day – got to see an 8-1 drubbing earlier today.
And simply put, if you’re going to lose that badly (26-3 combined the last three days) and have to use that many guys from the minor leagues, then the least you can do is charge minor league prices.
And I mean ticket prices AND concessions. Because paying $10 or $12 for a beer to see a weaker brand of baseball is highway robbery!
I mean, it’s now seven years later, and I still love the fact that the Sounders announced a refund for season ticket holders after a 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy in 2010. There was nothing better than a team’s general manager owning up to a less-than-stellar performance and putting the franchise’s money where their mouth was.
“That wasn’t Sounders soccer and it was quite frankly embarrassing, humiliating and the fans don’t deserve that,” GM Adrian Hanauer wrote back then. “As the owners of the club, we reserve the right to do whatever we think we need to do to treat our fans the way they’ve treated us.”
I encourage the Mariners top brass to do the same thing. Because after the last 16 seasons, their most loyal fans deserve sainthood for their patience. A discount or refund is the least they can do.
I mean, take a look at these names on their active roster. Who ARE some of these guys? Chris Heston? I’d have rather seen Charlton Heston pitch than pay full price to see Chris Heston give up seven runs earlier today. And while I commend Christian Bergman and Sam Gaviglio for their outstanding performances earlier this week, you know where fans can see them pitch most of the season? Cheney Stadium in Tacoma – and save a whole lot of money in the process.
In fact, the Rainiers are in first place, and the Mariners are in last. If they played each other lately, who would win? I’d think a Rainiers squad with Mike Zunino, Leonys Martin and D.J. Peterson might actually have a chance right now – and that, frankly, is really sad.
Now, I’m not saying the M’s can’t turn it all around when James Paxton, Mitch Haniger and company return. But in the interim, this organization needs to make things right. Show your fans that you truly care, and do so by giving back with more than a collector’s bobblehead. Give your most loyal supporters a reason to keep coming back, other than the empty promises we’ve heard for more than a decade.
And most of all, don’t allow your fans to pay major league prices for a minor league product.
Because that’s what you did this weekend – and it’s simply not right.
And if I’m Scott Servais, I’d give those participation trophies to his players to prove a point: “Continue to play like that, and I’ll continue to treat you like T-Ball players. The orange slices and juice boxes will be waiting for you as you board the team bus.”