Giants Fans Aren't Panicking, But Slashed Ticket Prices Indicate Team Brass May Be

Categories: Business, Sports
PacBellPanorama-9-3-2001.jpg
The San Francisco Giants are a hell of a team. Only a few games into the nascent season and they've already got me feeling like a naive jackass for writing that "Hope Springs Eternal on Opening Day." Perhaps, with this team, hope really is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

And yet, the best line to describe the team may emanate from the unlikely source of Dennis Green -- who hysterically bellowed "They are who we thought they were!" after a maddening Monday Night Football loss several years back. So, the Giants are who we thought they were. The starting pitching, despite a few rocky innings, is solid. But I fear the starters may break bones in their hands at some point this year pummeling soda machines, lockers, or clubhouse attendants after yet another dismal day for the team's offense and a 2-0 loss. And many folks predicted that, too.

So, it was interesting to see that the team finally had some healthy cuts this week -- but not in the batter's box. The Giants announced deeply discounted tickets for the coming April 27-29 series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

I'm sure the team has plenty of rationales for slashing ticket prices for one of the most desirable series of the year -- and not even one month into the season. But I suspect the obvious explanation that no one working for the franchise would dare utter: There seem to be a lot of empty seats these days.
I can only offer anecdotal evidence, so take everything with a grain of salt (and garlic, like the fries that could be the best ballpark concession ever). But if 34,000 people and change really showed up along with yours truly for Friday's game -- well, then I'm Telly Savalas.

Last year, as the Giants languished through their first post-Barry blues, average attendance plummeted by around 5,000 per game. And yet, as a well-placed source with the team told us last year, that ain't the half of it. The announced crowd includes folks who buy tickets and don't show up -- meaning no money is to be made on $8.75 beers or the mouth-watering garlic fries. Our source told us that a no-show rate of 20 percent -- or more -- was par for the course.

So to start drastically cutting ticket prices for a Dodgers series reeks a little bit of desperation. All in all, it recalls an unjustly forgotten Alec Baldwin sketch from Saturday Night Live in 1989 (a good year for the Giants). In an emotionally laden discourse about diner specials, Baldwin announces: "You know something, honey? You shouldn't give your pie away with breakfast! It makes you look cheap."

Pie at the stadium, on the other hand, is not cheap.
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