corporate love

A friend of mine named Paul went to the home run derby two nights ago. Because he often works in the Bronx, Paul parked at the same garage he uses by day. Usually, Paul pays $10 to park. For the derby, he paid $55.

This isn’t price gouging. This isn’t opportunism. This is bullshit.

This is baseball.

OK, I woke up angry today. I’ll admit that. But few things piss me off more than the way professional sports appear to embrace their fans via commercials and promotions and hat days—then absolutely, positively kill them in the wallet. Wanna know the breakdown of who attended last night’s All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium:

• 10% real fans who saved for tickets.

• 2% media, who get in for free (so, hate me …)

• 88% corporate bung-holes who take their top clients to the World Series and Super Bowl and All-Star Games, load them up on drinks and lobster and hookers before closing the deal with a handshake and an account.

I’m barely exaggerating. Major League Baseball cares about the ordinary fans, but it REALLY cares about the suits—wealthy, white executives who can fork over big money for the ever-increasing suites that ring stadiums (and the goodies that comes with them). Those are the people who baseball depend on to pay player salaries; to support new development; to keep the stock values up, up, up.

My problem is this: With the exception of my neighbor, one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet (who has a sense of humor/irony about the whole thing), I can’t think of one corporate ticket guy who I’ve ever found even remotely likable. These are the jackasses who loudly brag about having “courtside seats next to Spike at the Knicks-Cavs game last night!”—and the same guys who wouldn’t be caught dead watching a Spike Lee movie. They’re the same guys who love cheering and heckling the Stephon Marburys and Vince Carters and Randy Mosses of the world; who bellow, “That’s my boy!”—yet vote staunchly Republican and would never be caught dead in the inner-city. They’ve made it big financially, and now the world is their oyster.

But I sure as hell don’t have to like it