Transmit Me Out to the Old Ballgame.

By a happy coincidence, my return from the April meeting of the Rail Passengers Association in Washington takes me to Oakland where the Boston Red Sox will be playing the A’s. 

However, buying tickets to big league games these days is no longer a simple matter. Most of the ball clubs have turned ticket sales over to an on-line company like StubHub or SeatGeek. And I hate it.

After going on line and arriving at the right web site, you get to pick your seats. There is a schematic diagram of the Coliseum, but it’s about the size of a silver dollar.

Every seat has an assigned value, but the costs seem to vary without any apparent rationale. After a few minutes of checking the diagram and making sure I’m behind the visitors’ dugout, I’ve decided that Section 40 looks about right. Then things get weird: seat 7 in Row 32 costs $69, but seat 9 just one row farther back in that very same section is priced at $77.

Of course there really is no actual ticket. They’ll send an image of a ticket to my smart phone and it will be scanned as I enter the ballpark on the night of the game.

I finally decide on a seat with a face value of $114, which isn’t cheap, but it’s in a section behind the Red Sox dugout with a good view of the field. I click on my final selection and—Ka-ching!—my ticket now costs $158.29 thanks to a “Service Fee” of $35.34 and a delivery charge of $8.95. 

Two questions: (1) What service? (2) What delivery?

In 1959, my senior year at Boston University, I saw quite a few Red Sox games.  I would walk over to Fenway Park an hour before game time and, except when the Yankees were in town, there was almost always an odd single box seat right behind the Red Sox dugout. That ticket cost $3.50.


  1. When the Seattle Mariners came into being I was in college. My friends and I usually sat out in the left field bleachers at a ticket price of $1.50. The back of the ticket stub had a coupon for $2 off at a local pizza joint we frequented. We considered that we were being paid 50 cents to go to the game!

    The M’s now charge service fees for online orders but NOT at the ticket window. That’s also the only spot where the senior discount is available.

    Enjoy the game!

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