The Los Angeles Angels made a splash in the free agent market during the offseason when new general manager Jerry Dipoto signed left-handed starter C.J. Wilson and supernova slugger Albert Pujols. Angels fans, both casual and hardcore (and perhaps bandwagon) have responded with a seemingly overwhelming demand for tickets.
Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times reports that the requests for advance tickets has skyrocketed, but the Angels organization is not necessarily handling this increased influx of cash from fans with the appropriate goodwill.
Here is what the advance ticket purchasers experienced this past week:Knowing that fan excitement would run high and that 7,000 packages had been sold, the team advised buyers by letter and email to high-tail it to Angel Stadium as soon as possible once the redemption period began last Tuesday at 9 a.m. to be sure of getting the choicest seats at the best games.
Yet the team was totally unprepared to handle the crowd that materialized. Somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 customers showed up Tuesday, many arriving before dawn.
They discovered that only half the 14 ticket windows (and sometimes fewer) were staffed. The line moved at centimeters per hour, so no more than a few hundred customers made it to the ticket counters before the box office closed for the day at 5:30 p.m. Those left empty-handed were told they could come back the next day, as though it's no big deal for anyone to take a second weekday off from work and to trundle over to Anaheim.
Hiltzik has a lot more to say, including a first-hand reaction from Angels brass, so it's certainly worth a click-through. It seems to me, though, that repeatedly telling your fans to purchase advance tickets and then not allowing them to pick up those tickets at the appropriate time -- actually turning it into a chore and a headache -- is a terrific way to squander all those warm-and-fuzzies you've created by building a team worth being excited about.
For more news and notes regarding the Angels, be sure to read Halos Heaven.