Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter on June 18, 2014 was arguably the greatest event to occur at Dodger Stadium since Kirk Gibson’s epic home run in Game-1 of the 1988 World Series. Oh sure there have been three other Dodger no-hitters tossed at Dodger Stadium in between (plus two on the road), but Kershaw’s was but a Hanley Ramirez error away from being baseball’s 24th perfect game, not to mention that Kershaw struck out a career-high 15 Colorado Rockies batters while allowing zero walks. In fact, Kershaw’s no-no has been ranked as the most dominant no-hitter of all time by ‘Game Score,’ a widely recognized and well-respected system that rates pitching performances.
Unfortunately for most Dodgers season ticket holders, they have nothing more than a cheesy and basically worthless print-at-home paper ticket to commemorate one of Dodger Stadium’s greatest moments.
Back in January, Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten announced that the Dodgers were doing away with the regular old-fashioned hard tickets that they have used for more than 130 years and were instead ‘going paperless.’
“Paperless tickets are part of our heightened efforts to enable Dodger fans to manage their season seats better than ever,” Kasten said in a written statement. “The benefits include: receiving your tickets sooner, being able to print them at home or at your office, the ease of transferring them to family, friends, business associates or clients with free forwarding, and the ability to use them via your smart phone to enter the stadium.”
The problem, of course, is that although the new ticketing system may be ‘paperless’ for the Dodgers and undoubtedly saved them thousands or perhaps even tens of thousands of dollars on printing and shipping costs, it is anything but ‘paperless’ for the 35,000 season ticket holders who must now bear the cost for printer paper and (gasp) printer ink – if they even have a printer, that is. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Kasten’s new system isn’t paperless or green by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s the polar opposite of paperless or going green.
Shortly after the ‘paperless’ announcement was made, upset Dodger fans, especially those who collect or save their tickets as memorabilia, began voicing their displeasure with the Dodgers new paperless system on Twitter.
“I currently have over 800 ticket stubs from baseball games, I am beyond saddened by this news,” tweeted longtime Dodger fan David Herrmann upon hearing the news.
“So when Kershaw throws a no-no or Puig hits for the cycle I’m going to have an eTicket & not a hard copy?” tweeted C. Alcantara. (How’s that for a premonition?).
“Always saved my tickets. It’s going to be weird this year,” tweeted longtime Dodger blogger Roberto Baly.
Kasten threw Dodger fans a bone a month later (or so it seemed at the time) when he told Dodgers beat reporter J.P. Hoornstra during an interview that the Dodgers might print tickets to be distributed at a future game as a souvenir giveaway for a game with added significance, say… for instance… a no-hitter.
Lo and behold the Dodgers did offer season ticket holders a commemorative ticket of Kershaw’s historic game – in the form of yet another print-at-home ‘paperless’ ticket that comes complete with sponsor ads on it. The Dodgers even suggested that “You can print your commemorative ticket from your screen, on regular letter paper or thicker paper for framing and display.”
Who would want to put this up on their wall? – although the $10 off from Sports Authority is a pretty good deal.
But wait! There’s more!
As of this morning, actual hard tickets from Kershaw’s no-no (which are obviously somewhat rare) are already going for upwards of $250 on eBay. Ironically (and almost comically), some entrepreneurs are actually selling the ‘paperless’ print-at-home Kershaw no-hitter commemorative tickets for $2.99. (Hey, you’ve got to pay for all that paper and ink somehow, right?).
If this isn’t a slap in the face to the Dodgers’ most loyal and dedicated fans, nothing is – especially when you realize that many of these hard tickets were walk-up tickets sold to fans who are not season ticket holders. Where’s the reward in this for being a season ticket holder?
What should the Dodgers have done instead? Better yet, what can they still do to reward their most loyal fans for their continuing support? How about sending out an actual hard ticket to every season ticket holder? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, one just like the generic one above with their actual season seat number(s) on them would be more than adequate.
Or better still, why not allow season ticket holders to walk up to a ticket window at Dodger Stadium with their season ticket account number (and I.D.) and have a hard copy of their ticket from Kershaw’s no-hitter printed out for them right there while they wait? There would be no postage involved and only those who really want an actual hard ticket would get one instead of printing and mailing out 35,000 of them.
Here’s your chance, Dodgers. Make this right.