My first car was a baby blue 1971 Volkswagen Beetle that leaked oil and left rust stains when it rained. It had a glove box that stayed shut, but only with the help of a brown shoelace, and a moon roof that I kept open when I drove during the winter because the days of adjusting the heat, or even turning it off, had long passed by the time I bought the car from my sister-in-law, Jill.
In October, I crawled under the car and pushed a lever to open the heat duct. In April, I crawled under and pushed it closed.
Jill asked for $600, and I paid.
That was in June 1984.
A few months later — Sept. 12, to be exact — I drove my buddy Wally to Shea Stadium and watched Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates with a five-hit shutout. Gooden struck out 16 that night (And walked none!).
I bought a ticket off a scalper for $10, $3.50 above face value.
That ticket put me directly behind home plate, 10 rows back. Those seats were so good, Wally and I both swore we would have gone as high as $15.
Different times, for sure.
On Wednesday night the Tampa Bay Rays took their first look at the new Yankee Stadium, George Steinbrenner’s monument to greed.
The seats that rim the field between the dugouts go for $1,250, which is more than twice as much as what I paid Jill for her car, and more than any monthly mortgage payment I ever made.
If you think $1,250 is a lot for one ticket to one ballgame, think again. They were originally priced at $2,500.
Hey everyone, half-off sale in the Bronx.
Now I ask: What would you pay $2,500 to see from the front row?
The Rolling Stones? Billy Joel and Elton John together on the same stage?
The Super Bowl?
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon dropped a grand on a Super Bowl ticket last February, but that’s because he’s an Arizona Cardinals fan. I have a friend who paid that much, too, but he’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and how often will the Steelers play a Super Bowl less than an hour from his home? That’s how he reasoned paying $1,000 for one ticket, and it wasn’t even front row, though front row at a football game is far from the best seat in the house.
Cut those Yankees tickets from $1,250 to $625 and they are still grossly overpriced. Sure, it’s Yankee Stadium, but it’s not the House That Ruth Built anymore.
Get over yourselves, guys. It’s a baseball game.
For a $1,250 ticket I want to see a perfect game . . . from both pitchers.
I want to see someone hit five home runs. I want to see seven triple plays.
I want it to be at least Game 7 of the World Series.
For $1,250, I want a ticket for Wally, too. I want to see someone set a major league record. I want to drive there in my first car.
And I want that oil leak fixed.