After all the bad news that we have been inundated with in the last few weeks, let me offer to you all a positive moment that I recently experienced. My brother, Andrew, and I had just arrived at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida to see the Tampa Bay Rays play the Boston Red Sox. We arrived, or so we thought, in the nick of time to make it to the first pitch. Most of my readers know that I am a diehard Red Sox fan so I was excited to be able to once more see a game live and not on TV or streamed.
Upon reaching the ball park, however, I was in for a surprise. I was intercepted by one of the ball park attendants, who told me I needed to scan a bar code on my phone. Before I could react, he pointed to a bar code on what appeared to be a poster. There I saw another guy who appeared as confused as I with his grandson, who was about 10 years old, who immediately offered me help in scanning the bar code onto my phone. Because I was with my brother, who is even more of a luddite than I am, I kidded the boy’s grandfather telling him he was cheating in bringing along his grandson.
Once I had scanned the bar code into my phone with my camera, I had no idea what to do. As it became evident that the attendant could not help me any further, a woman that identified herself as Karen Jones, told me she could assist me. When the fellow with his grandson gave a gesture of thanks to her, I assumed she was in the know as I continued in my quest to conquer this increasingly complicated act of purchasing tickets to gain entrance to the stadium.
Ms. Jones quickly located the MLB account on my phone. I gave her the passcode I had set some years ago but it did not accept it. I then watched her attempt to gain entry into the website at which point I blurted out “that they really don’t want to take our money.” She assured me that that was not the case. As she continued to fiddle with my phone, I asked what would happen if you didn’t have a phone. She said you would not be able to gain admission to the game. At which point, I sighed in disgust not being able to contain my utter frustration with this seemingly endless process. Seeing my bemused expression, she glanced at me for a moment and said: “You know Bernard I like you. I’m going to give you and your brother two tickets to the game on me.” Awed by her sudden friendliness and recognition of my helpless situation, I told her I did not want them if she had to pay for them. She assured me that she did not as she was the Manager of Ticket Operations. When she asked me where I wanted to sit, I wasn’t shy in telling her as close to home plate as she could get us with an aisle seat preferred.
Although the ticket agent at the window could not find aisle seats, she finally located two very good seats. Moreover, Ms. Jones set a new password to my MLB App that I now would be able to navigate on my own. I heartily thanked her and waved to my brother. As we hustled to our seats, I was surprised, not only to find I was seated a few rows behind home plate, but also that one of the seats was on the aisle.
I later discovered that there had been many scammers when people presented printed tickets bought online causing the MLB to stop accepting tickets in that format. When I called MLB’s 800 line, the woman who took my call did not know why Tropicana Field only accepted tickets bought from one’s phone. However, she did say Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, near where I lived, allowed ticket purchases at the stadium ticket window of any tickets not sold online. Though I was armed with my new password on MLB, I signed in relief that there remained option B, to buy tickets at a stadium nearby where I resided.