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PASS THE BUCK - BACK TO THE FANS.
August 17, 2001

by Bill Hogan

 

 
 

It's no secret to anyone that reads the sports pages that Monday night's pre-season football game between the Eagles and Ravens at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia was cancelled due to an unplayable field.

It's no secret that the field at "the Vet" has been unplayable for years. They (the Eagles, the NFL, the city of Philadelphia) should have done something about it years ago.

 
 


In an era where sports teams are constantly moaning for "better accommodations", the best excuse (I've never heard) for building a new stadium is because the old one is unaccommodating or unsafe for the fans. The Eagles have had that excuse for a long time. (In 1998, nine West Point Cadets were injured when a railing suddenly collapsed during an Army-Navy game at the Vet).

I've been reading with amusement about all the finger pointing that's been going on since Monday. The Eagles blame the city, the city blames the turf manufacturer, the turf manufacturer blames the grounds crew - and everybody is blaming Mother Nature! Too much rain! What a shock - it never rains in the Northeast in August - IT POURS!

So I guess the bottom line is, the Eagles-Ravens game was cancelled because of a puddle.

The Eagles are complaining about a 5-10 million-dollar loss of revenue (boo-hoo). The city is holding back a half-million dollar payment to the turf manufacturer. Everybody is passing the buck - but nobody is passing the buck back to the fans!

Sure, season ticket holders will receive a refund. But the fans that used Ticketmaster to purchase single game seats will only be reimbursed the face value of the ticket. What about the fees they add to the price of the ticket and any shipping charges?

What you haven't heard is that you cannot buy advanced single game tickets from the Eagle ticket office. You have to use Ticketmaster. So why do the fans have to eat all the ancillary charges that are tacked on when purchasing a ticket?

And what about parking fees? Are the fans going to be given a refund for parking at the Vet for an hour or so while the league, teams and players decided not to play?

I don't know about you, but when I go to a game, the first stop I make is the concession stand. Seven dollars for a beer, hot dogs and soda for the kids and, of course, a couple of big foam fingers (because it's not just another pre-season game to the family - it's an outing).

Whose going to reimburse these fans for the fifty or a hundred bucks spent during the journey to their seats?

Eagles coach Andy Reid said he was "embarrassed" that the Ravens had to make the trip up to Philadelphia for nothing. I didn't hear him mention anything about the trip 45,000 fans made to be at the stadium to support his team.

Six fans were arrested for "unruly behavior". Well, call me unruly - but I'd want ALL my money back AND a couple for freebie foam fingers for my troubles.

LINOLEUM TOE HURTS WORSE THAN TURF TOE.

I really don't understand how the Eagles and the NFL could let this turf business get so out of hand. Nobody (the league or the team) is hurting for cash. There is an entire crew dedicated to the care of the field. And, lets face it, all we're talking about is a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet. Just send somebody down to the nearest Carpeteria with a blank check and pick up six thousand square yards of their best berber.

I have a piece of linoleum coming up in the kitchen. Just about every morning I snag my big toe in it and stumble into the refrigerator sending magnet pictures flying. I broke the handle off the automatic ice dispenser a few weeks ago.

Last week, one of the boys left the refrigerator door open (a common occurrence) prior to my daily toe trip. I wound up taking out half a plate of leftover meatloaf and three eggs. The last three eggs - which is ironic since I was in the kitchen to make myself an omelet. Good for my cholesterol level, bad for my chronic linoleum toe.

Numbering procrastination among my personal attributes, it comes as no surprise that the floor hasn't been fixed yet. But, in my own defense, I don't have a floor crew to oversee household maintenance and repair.

And, more importantly, I don't have 45 thousand people paying to come and watch me make an omelet.

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