Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Send Them All To Their Rooms Without Supper!

DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and the DC City Council are in a pissing match over the disposition of the city's allotment of Nationals baseball tickets. I won't bother going into the details, because it will only appear to give credence to this childish little argument. To make a long story short, Mayor Fenty has the tickets, and he won't share them. You can read the Post's account of the squabble here.

Now, in response, the city council is trying to drum up support for a vote to auction off the tickets, and use the proceeds to pay for city services. I suppose it's a noble cause, but what does it say about the Washington Nationals that the city, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars to bring the team to town, is willing to get rid of ALL of its tickets to go to the games? Given the amount of political capital that has been expended to bring the team to DC, you'd think the city's lawmakers would find some value in being able to show off the new ballpark and to provide tickets for charities and whatnot.

A similar story has developed in New York, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg is also selling off his city's tickets to see the Mets and the Yankkees in their new stadiums. However, THOSE tickets will fetch much more money, and the Mets and Yankees are both well-established brands. They don't need the city's support - the Nationals CLEARLY do.

Attendance is going to to be way down this year as the recession tightens its grip and the first-year newness of the stadium starts to wear off. Plus, the team clearly stinks again. If the city's own leaders aren't going to the games - or at least sending their constituents - isn't that sending a signal that no one else should feel the need to take in a game?

Councilmember Kwame Brown, who is pushing for the auction, believes the sale can generate a half-million dollars, but he wants to make sure the city does not violate its own scalping law, which prohibits tickets from being sold for MORE than face value.

The Nats lost 102 games last season, and are headed in the same direction this year. Does Brown really think that will be an issue?

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