An Open Letter to Yankees COO Lonn Trost

Feb 18, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) works out as the pitchers and catchers arrive for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) works out as the pitchers and catchers arrive for spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

*Please note that this letter has been written anonymously

Dear Mr. Lonn Trost,

I understand that your position as the Chief Operating Officer of the New York Yankees comes with great responsibility, and that one of your biggest challenges is dealing with tickets being re-sold on secondary markets for well below-face-value, and I know that you’re ongoing feud with Stubhub has reached a rivalry paralleled to that of the Yankees and Red Sox, but quite frankly who in the world do you think you are?

Thursday morning you told Boomer and Carton of WFAN that:

"The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a ticket in a very premium location and pay a substantial amount of money. It’s not that we don’t want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for a ticket and [another] fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it’s frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount . . . And quite frankly, the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”"

To put this as simple as possible, not only do I find your comments asinine, but I believe they are a complete slap in the face to the true fan base behind the team that signs your paycheck.

How often do you go to a professional sporting event, whether it be a New York Yankees game, a New Jersey Devils game or a tennis match and honestly know how much money the person next to you paid for their respective seat?

And, better yet, what exactly is it about a fan who doesn’t sit in premium seating that might “frustrate” you’re white collared season ticket holders?

Is it because we cheer too loud? Is it because we stand up and yell every time there’s two outs and two strikes on an opposing batter and yearn for that third called strike in just the first inning? Or is it because every time we step foot in Yankee Stadium, whether it be an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Game against the Boston Red Sox during the pennant race or a meaningless game in the dog days of summer, that we do our very best to make it sound like the Old Yankee Stadium right across the street when it used to rock the Bronx everyday from April to October by cheering on the team that makes us all proud?

Mr. Trost, I’m no rocket scientist, but what you’re basically alluding too is that only the 1% deserve to sit in the premium seats in Yankee Stadium while the other 99% better know their place, because clearly we only belong in the bleachers or nosebleeds, especially because our very presence is enough to upset the three people who actually sit in the premium seats on a nightly basis.

Now doesn’t the value of your premium seat remain the same no matter who sits in it? The Yankees have already made their money when they originally sold the seats to season ticket holders. If one of your beloved season ticket holders decides to lose a couple bucks to a particular game(s), that’s their loss, not the New York Yankees.

As you probably experienced in the past, it’s hard to sell tickets to Yankee Stadium in April when it’s close to freezing and the Yanks host the Tampa Bay Rays for the first of 20 contests in 2016, but I know a ton of die-heart Yankee fans who would love nothing more but to be there.

Mr. Trost, from a business standpoint, isn’t taking a 50% loss significantly better than a 100% loss? Wouldn’t you want fans to come to the stadium and purchase a beer and a hot dog while cheering on the New York Yankees in a seat that would otherwise be vacant netting you a profit of $0 after ticket sales?

I guess not if it means your ‘existing fan base’ will be upset with who they end up sitting next to.

Don’t you get tired of sitting at home and seeing more than half the stadium empty because you didn’t give fans the choice of purchasing tickets on the secondary market? From a true fan’s perspective, it’s horrid to see an empty and lifeless Yankee stadium on a nightly basis, and I’m sure that’s something becoming too hard to ignore from the front-office, especially for someone of your stature.

I know a student at NYU who took an elective with Fox Sports U that focused on upping the TV ratings of the YES Network and getting the younger demographic interested in the New York Yankees. While it must have been fun and challenging to indulge in such a professional problem as a student, it wasn’t until now that I realized the true reason behind why people no longer watch Yankees baseball on TV.

It’s not the fact that some consider baseball boring, it’s not the trend in younger people doing away with cable and it has nothing to do with the Yankees running a veteran team out onto the field night in and night out.

Instead, it’s the people like you Mr. Trost.

Your greedy need to control the primary and secondary market is the downfall of your own product. Each year the Yankees are left with a decline in attendance, and eventually there will be no one left at the gate to pay for in-stadium merchandise or products. As a direct result, fans at home have gotten tired of tuning into an empty stadium and hearing the sound of Nathan Eovaldi‘s fastball actually hit the leather of Brian McCann‘s glove instead of a cheering crowd.

Mr. Trost, it’s because of the people like you that one day the Yankees will no longer have a loyal fan base. It’s a shame because ‘The Babe’, ‘The Mick’ and Gehrig made my grandfather a Yankees fan. Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson and ‘Louisiana Lightning’ Ron Guidry made my father a Yankees fan and Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera made me a Yankees fan, but not even Luis Severino, Aaron Judge or even Bryce Harper will be enough to sustain the next generation of Yankee fans if people like you are still at the helm.

Mr. Trost, I’m truly baffled as to whose idea it was to have you defend this policy. You are just about the worst spokesman ever imaginable for the Yankees.

What I find even more comical is that you said fans can still use Stub Hub’s “last minute pickup center that’s right up from Yankee Stadium” to pick up hard copy tickets prior to game time.

Right up from where?

Mr. Trost when you sued Stub Hub and made them close their convenient stadium location at 68 East 161st Street because they were too close to Yankee Stadium and directly interfered with your ticket window they were forced to move to the Bronx Terminal Market at 651 River Avenue and 151st Street, which is nearly a half mile away from Yankee Stadium.

You’ve completely eliminated the tradition of taking the subway to the stadium and heading right into the ballpark to enjoy some baseball. Now fans who buy tickets on the secondary market have to trek all the way to an inconvenient location to pick up their tickets and all the way back to Yankees Stadium to stuff more money in your wallet.

Mr. Trost, at a time when the New York Yankees have increased competition from the New York Mets across the Whitestone Bridge in terms of ticket sales and popularity, you would think someone like you would be doing their best to put families and the younger generation of fans in the seats, not push them away to sit at home and watch the game from their recliner.

But above all, what’s most upsetting is hearing someone like you represent the team we all love.



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