Will Isabella lives in New York City and has been a Dodger fan his entire life – he is 62 years old. Isabella was one of a group of twelve loyal ThinkBlueLA followers who made the trip out to Camelback Ranch for spring training last season – a group that included die-hard Dodgers fans from Nova Scotia, Brooklyn, Ohio, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and of course California. Isabella’s goal was to get several of his 1970′s-era Dodgers playoff and World Series ticket stubs autographed by players who actually played in those games – a goal which he successfully accomplished.
Living in New York Isabella doesn’t get out this way very often. In fact, his last visit to Dodger Stadium was a brief turnaround visit for Game-2 of the 2009 NLDS – the infamous Matt Holliday groin-shot game. Isabella was fortunate enough to get his ticket stub from that memorable game autographed by several Dodgers who played in that game while at spring training last season. Although Isabella cannot make it out for spring training this year due to his busy work schedule and because of the costs involved, he is coming out to LA for the Dodgers 2014 home opener against the Hated Ones and had every intention of adding his ticket stubs from these games to his ticket stub collection, which he estimates to be around 150.
On Thursday morning Will Isabella received some devastating news – the Dodgers have decided to do away with hard tickets and are going to paperless tickets instead – paperless for the Dodgers, that is. It is anything but paperless for those buying tickets, as they must now bear the cost of printing out their own tickets “at home or at your office,” as Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten says. But what if you don’t have an office or your boss doesn’t allow you to print out personal stuff while at work? Or what if you do not own a computer or printer? Or what if you are, say… traveling out from New York with the uncertainty that you will even be able to print out your tickets at the hotel you are staying at? No problem because Kasten says that Dodger fans will have “…the ability to use (your tickets) via your smartphone to enter the stadium.”
Sounds great, right?
Like many others, Isabella does not own a smartphone, nor does he have any plans of getting one anytime soon; and he sure isn’t going to buy one just so that he can have three Dodger tickets scanned from it.
“It makes me feel sad,” said the lifelong Dodger fan in his heavy New York accent. “I’ve been collecting ticket stubs from Dodger games since I was 12 years old. My father and I would make a special trip each year to a Mets ticket outlet and buy our tickets for Mets-Dodgers games at Shea Stadium. It was a big deal for me and we left with actual tickets that they printed out right there while we waited. There wasn’t any TicketMaster and it wasn’t computerized like it is today. It was very personal and very individualized back then.”
Isabella isn’t the only Dodger fan upset with this new paperless ticket system. As expected, Twitter lit up immediately following the announcement:
Baseball memorabilia collectors or Dodger fans like Will Isabella and Roberto Baly who, in the past, kept their ticket stubs will now have an impersonal sheet of paper that they must print out themselves in advance. Heaven forbid they should forget to do so (or run out of ink or paper) and arrive at Dodger Stadium without it (and don’t have a smartphone). It will also be very difficult to get a flimsy print-at-home ticket autographed without it getting wrinkled or creased – not to mention how much space will now be required to save them in a binder.
“I’m not very happy about this,” Isabella concluded. “But I guess it’s just a sign of the times.”