I’ve been fortunate enough to see some historical sporting events in my
life but that never made me feel satisfied enough to not wish for more.
I saw Robin Yount capture his 3,000 career hit in old County Stadium and
I witnessed the great Nolan Ryan pick up his 300th victory in the same
venue on July 31, 1990. I was also fortunate enough to be in the Greater
Milwaukee Open gallery the day Tiger Woods made his pro debut back in
1996. I was in attendance to witness the game’s greatest collection of
steroid users ever assembled under one roof (A-Rod, Bonds, McGwire,
Sosa, Clemens and many more) at Miller Park for the too-good-to-be-true
Home Run Derby and the infamous All-Star Game sister-kisser as well, but
neither of the those events carry the same cache as the others. And
I’ve got my ticket stubs from each and every one of the events in case
anybody ever calls me on it.
Although my share of watching sports history unfold live is modest at
best compared to some of the more seasoned sports fans I know, I’ve
never been tempted to add to my list unnaturally. I appreciate having
been at the various events because of the thrill and excitement they
provided at the time and because of the great memories they provide all
these years later. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for many other
collectors. In fact, the list of “fake attendees” of a recent game is
growing by the thousands as I write this.
The reason behind the increase is because the Florida Marlins are
currently selling the 11,000 or so unused tickets from the
Marlins-Phillies game on May 29. That was the day Phillies pitcher Roy
Halladay tossed MLB’s 20th Perfect Game. The reason the tickets are now
on sale more than 48 hours after the 27th out was recorded is because
the Marlins are hoping to cash in on the speculative nature of fans and
collectors. The team is selling the remaining tickets at face value and
my guess is they will sell at a much quicker rate than the
attendance-challenged Marlins typically see them leave their box office.
So, for under $20 you can purchase a piece of history and tell your
grandchildren you were in attendance the day Halladay made history.
While some will cherish the tickets and add them to their respective
collections, others will undoubtedly look to flip them on eBay and make a
The White Sox and Athletics did something similar for the perfect games
pitched by Mark Buehrle and Dallas Braden, respectively.
Collectors looking to make a quick buck after Braden’s gem earlier this
year shelled out anywhere from $15-$75 for after-the-fact ticket
purchases on eBay, but considering Halladay’s resume is far better than
Braden’s, collectors looking to scoop up a piece of history can expect
to pay more than that if they go the eBay route.
I guess I don’t have a problem with the premise of making the unused
(used, whatever you call them) tickets available, but I know I’d be
bumming if I was one of the original 25,000 in attendance and my
limited-edition collectible just morphed into a 1-of-36,000. To me,
buying a ticket after the fact is like saying you were at the game
because you saw the highlights on Sportscenter. The bandwagon-jumping
“fans” who purchase the tickets in the next few days will have to live
with themselves and the rest of the 250,000 people who will claim to
have been at the game 30 years from now. For me, I’ll just keeping
attending sporting events for all the right reasons and hoping history
evolves right before my eyes.