LA Times Busts John Carpino's Balls

Someone is standing up for fans.

The Chicago Tribune owned LA Times suckerpunched Dodgers Frank McCourt from day one, so any chance to go at LA's other baseball team seems fair - especially when loyal fans are in the middle.

Business columnist Michael Hiltzik does not write for the sports page and so he doesn't have play the press pass suckup that usually gets pro team front offices a license to live in an US and THEM world as they treat fans like nobodies while giving two dozen sports writers great pressbox seats in exchange for rah-rah complicity.

The Angels have had a popular ticket voucher program. It allows people to buy tickets as Christmas gifts for example, with the receivers of these vouchers then able to pick the game they want to go to. Vouchers can only be exchanged after a certain date. March 6 was the first day for voucher ticket purchases this year. Hiltzik was disgusted when the Angels only had 14 ticket windows open to accommodate a crowd estimated at 2,000 people. The wait for most fans were flat out unacceptable. He lays it out:

It's sad indeed when a respectable business organization gets so puffed up by its own reputation that it decides there's no downside to treating its customers like chumps.

I don't see any of the sportswriters and their five dollar pressbox cafeteria carcinogens ever going to bat for us fans. Hitzlik notes that the Angels emailed voucher holders to remind them to get there early but then email-efficient management stupidly did not have sufficient staff to keep the line moving. The Times earlier this week reported that fans who were used to two hour waits at events like this waited five hours and did not get what they came for. (paste the link in a different browser if and when you go over the Times 30 article limit). The Tuesday sports page article included ticketing director Robert Alvarado explaining that since many ticket window personnel are part-timers, the team could not quickly remedy the situation, say with a phone call.

Well Hiltzik is a reporter first, not a blinded-by-pressbox-access lapdog. Therefore he did what a real reporter does. He called the Union rep for the Angels ticketing agents. Seems Alvarado is full of sh!t:

But an officer of the Service Employees International Union, which represents the ticket sellers, told me it would have been easy to call in extra hands Tuesday to help out the next day, once management realized that the crisis would spill over.

The best part, though, is the pretty prose that Hitzlik saves for the man who thinks we fans should all just be the seen-and-not-heard little people waiting in line for hours on end, Angels President John Carpino. Our team's feckless leader seized on the fact that the business reporter is covering this story because his wife was one of the people spending a whole day in line exchanging a voucher and appearantly insisted that some of that legendary pressbox objectivity be applied to this situation. Is "Carpino" Italian for "Tool"? Hitzlik goes all Mencken on Prez.JohnJohn...

The worst thing is that Angels executives still don't get that they committed a huge blunder. When I spoke with the front office last week, they were not exactly apologetic. They weren't merely defensive. They were truculently defensive. At one point in our conversation, Angels President John Carpino intimated that I was taking this matter personally because my wife had been inconvenienced, as though no one who hasn't lived through the experience can imagine the frustration of being forced to waste nine hours acquiring 10 baseball tickets.

This ticket escapade is the sort of disorganized who's-in-charge-here chaos that happens all too often. It seems that the second something is unscripted in this organization, it crushes the souls of Angels fans as the first matter of business. The number of bait and switch promotions seems to have increased under the stench of Clowny Carpino. Disarray is the norm and "truculant defensiveness" sums up the obtuse elitism at the pulse of stadium operations and the overall fan experience outside the lines. It takes a real reporter to call a tin-ear snob what he really is, a sloppy coward. Make that President Sloppy Coward - idiots who love titles as they push us around still love their titles.

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