Sometimes we read an article so bad we have to "FJM it" as the cool kids say. This is one of those articles as Jim Stingl covers a non-story about Miller Park seat-squatters who apparently are everywhere and won't give up the seats once they are caught. Of course, there is just one example here and it's coming from a guy who felt the best way to handle it would be to contact Jim Stingl about it so, you know.
Calling it seat rage probably overstates the problem a bit.
Yes, just a bit.
"It is rather like seat bullying," says Dan Pavelko, whose family has run into this hassle twice at Brewers games at Miller Park, once last season in the club level and again this year in the terrace boxes.
"After they take my seat they take my lunch money too. It's like high school all over again."
He thinks we all need a refresher course in seat etiquette, so here we go. With hordes of Cubs fans about to hit town for a three-game series against the Brew Crew, the timing is right.
Yes, because the Cubs fans who invade Miller Park are sure to read your silly column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Also, just because the Brewers are playing the Cubs doesn't mean that there are "hordes of Cubs fans" coming to town. Have you seen the Cubs record? Have you heard ticket sales are down for the Cubs games? Did you notice that the series takes place on weekdays? Did you see that thing where some mining company gave away all the terrace reserved tickets (to Brewers fans)?
What am I thinking? Of course you haven't.
The phenomenon he's talking about happens when ticketholders linger at a tailgate party and arrive at their seats a couple innings into the game. Or they leave the seats for a while in order to wander around the stadium, meet friends in another section, visit a gift shop or whatever.
So what you're saying is that when people who don't care about the watching the game leave their seats for a long period of time people who do care about watching the game take them? I'm aghast. Aghast, I tell you.
Other people, looking to upgrade from their crummier seats, move into these empty seats.
The ticketholder comes back and runs into resistance from the squatters.
The amount of one sentence paragraphs in this article is almost as shocking as this sentence. Almost.
"The group was upset we returned and one of them asked, 'Where did you go?' " Pavelko said. "Where did we go? Are you kidding me?!"
"Where did you go?" as in "Where did you go for ONE THIRD of the game?" as in "Seriously, what the hell? We only took your seats because you left for the heart of the game" which is to say "We thought you left."
Also, embarrassment. Anyone who has ever been busted seat stealing always plays dumb. 231? I thought this was 431! My mistake!
In this instance, Pavelko and his party left the seats after the third inning and returned in the sixth. They went to eat lunch, shop and explore.
Eat lunch, shop and explore are items two through four on the list of Things You Don't Go To A Baseball Game To Do. Number one on that list? Not watch baseball. Which, coincidentally, Pavelko and his party also did. Four for four!
"If I paid for the seats, and I came back even if it's 2 outs and the count is 3 and 2 in the bottom of the ninth, I should get my seat back no questions asked," the Muskego man said. He has a 20-game pack of tickets.
You're right, you should. You should also be called an asshole because that's what you'd be if you did that.
I agree. Are there really people out there with a finders-keepers attitude of entitlement when it comes to stadium seats? Is this just alcohol-related, or do these jerks really think you lose your seat when you step away from it for too long?
Woah, really? That's where you're going with this one? You're taking "where did you go" and turning it into a fight against drunk jerks out to steal our seats as well as our very souls? Seriously? And you get paid for this?
I'll admit to some occasional minor seat jumping myself, maybe to get in or out of the sun or away from someone obnoxious, but it would never occur to me to dig in and make the returning ticketholders justify themselves. You apologize and slink away.
Oh, occasional AND minor seat jumping? Well, that's just fine. No need to apologize. Perfectly acceptable! It's these other people though, they are the monsters. Not you though Jim. Ol' Jimmy. The Stingl-r. You can seat jump all you want, we know you'll apologize and slink away if you get caught. A true gentleman, that's what you are.
You are right too. Sometimes seat jumping is justified. Like if this happened.
Justifiable Seat Jumping: A Scene
Joe seatholder: Oh, hello sir. My name is Joe and I will be sitting next to you for this game. I sure hope the Brewers win!
Jim Stingl: Oh, I do too my fellow Brewers "fan." *air quotes*
My name is Jim Stingl I write for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Have you ever read my work?
Joe seatholder: Oh, ahh, yeah. I'm sorry. I must have the wrong seat.
Tyler Barnes, vice president of communications for the Brewers, says Pavelko is right.
"Simply put, the fan who purchased that ticket has every right to sit in that seat, regardless of whether they leave the area for eight pitches or for eight innings," Barnes said. "One of the highest priorities for our guest services staff is to ensure that people are seated in their ticketed locations." (Oh-oh, did I just admit to violating one of the Brewers' highest guest services priorities?)
"Never put that guy through again" added Barnes to his secretary. "I am not kidding I will fire you if I ever have to give a quote to that idiot again."
(And don't worry Jimmy boy, the rules don't apply to stand up guys like you. We know you'll do the right thing!)
If the resistance by the newcomers is too entrenched, the ticketholder should get an usher involved or alert security with a phone text.
Has this ever happened, ever? In Pavelko's story did he have to get an usher? I must've missed that part. It certainly read to me like they said "Where were you for the past hour of a three hour game?" and moved along. I just can't imagine someone saying "No, I won't leave this seat that doesn't belong to me. Get security I don't care!"
Give. Me. A. Break.
Disputes over seats have been a bit more frequent as attendance has grown at the ballpark in recent years, Barnes said. He had one more word of advice to keep the peace: If practical, wait until play stops to move to or from your seat.
So if there is more people at the ballpark there are less seats? Huh. The more you know.
How about we do one better and make it the rule at Miller Park that you can't move to or from your seat until play stops or at the very least between at-bats? This would solve that problem and the problem of having to get up for the drunk people down the aisle who have to pee/get a beer/get some food twice an inning that ruins good aisle seats. That's the kind of guest service I'm looking for.
You're always going to see some friction when you pack thousands of people into a confined space and add large amounts of beer. Maybe we need a new scoreboard character as a role model of how not to act.
Yes, because scoreboard characters solve everything.
Just hink of the hilarity when Hot Dog sits in Chorizo's seat and Chorizo comes back from the bathroom trying to get it back! Oh, man. They could argue and the only way to settle it would be to race! That'd teach these people!
"In the '80s and '90s, it was beware of the two-fisted slobber," Pavelko said. It might be slopper, actually. Either way, the character became something of a folk hero here and today has his own Facebook page.
"And now," Pavelko said, "it is the nosy Nelly seat-taker bully."
Pavelko talks just like someone who would contact Jim Stingl about a non-issue like this would talk, don't you think?
"My kids love that Barney Brewer, or is it Bernie? I think it's Barney, but I'm not sure. Either way I wish he was my friend."
Call Jim Stingl at (414) 224-2017 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org