Newsflash to me (and maybe you): There is no Camden Yards' walk-up fee - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Newsflash to me (and maybe you): There is no Camden Yards’ walk-up fee

MLB: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I spent a chunk of Tuesday reading and answering comments on Twitter, Facebook and in my Connolly’s Tap Room blog about why fans aren’t coming to Camden Yards this year.

My premise heading into this week didn’t change – there are a whole lot of factors, from the ease of watching games on TV to the economic strain of pro sports to the presence of the Washington Nationals to the questions of safety in downtown Baltimore to the rollercoaster nature of this club to a need for better marketing of the on-field product.

And that just scratches the surface.

But there was something that came up repeatedly with fans – a perceived slap in the face and a reason that several said they’ve avoided coming to Camden Yards in the past few years – that simply is no longer true.

The dreaded walk-up ticket fee.

Instituted before the 2010 season, the Orioles charged an extra $1 to $5 – depending on original price – if those tickets were purchased after 12:01 a.m. on the day of the game.

Basically, the deal was if you were going to decide in the afternoon that you wanted to catch an Orioles’ game that night and you walked up to the box office to get a ticket, you would pay an average of $2 more for your seat that night.

I remember writing a story about the change in January 2010, and people were outraged. Some vowed never again attend a game again until the policy was changed.

And, this month, when I’ve written about the Orioles’ attendance woes – they had just 15,532 at Camden Yards on Monday for a key game against the division rival Toronto Blue Jays – I’ve had some people point to that policy as a deterrent for coming to Camden Yards.

But here’s the rub: That’s no longer a ticket policy (it was a bad idea from the start, in my opinion).

Apparently, when the organization switched to dynamic pricing – different tiers – before the 2014 season, the walk-up fee went away.

Apparently, I didn’t get the memo. And many of you didn’t. And several people I quickly quizzed Tuesday afternoon didn’t know that the policy was vacated, either. It wasn’t formally announced at the time. And time went by.

This doesn’t qualify as news – a changed policy three-plus years ago. But, frankly, there’s a lot of you that didn’t know, including some who made a point of complaining about it today.

So there you go. One fewer reason to explain why people aren’t frequenting the Yards in 2016.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 31, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Sorry Dan, but simply the perception in the fan’s mind IS a reason. Just because it isn’t so anymore doesn’t make it not so … or something like that ….

    • Dan Connolly

      August 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Come on Boog. It can no longer be a reason if it’s not a reason. Or something like that

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 31, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        I like you Connolly…even if your not still “a fan”. (wink wink)

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          August 31, 2016 at 2:52 pm

          “you’re” not your … I hate people that do that … how embarrassing. And c’mon Cockey, you’re the techie .. how’s about a spell/grammer check on this thing!

    • Steve Cockey

      August 31, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Sorry, Booger. We demand proper spelling and grammar from our readers (and writers) around here 😉 hahaa

  2. JDSax

    August 31, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Agree with Boog – I said this to you on Twitter last night, Dan, but perception is reality. This speaks volumes about the team’s poor marketing and communication in general. If even the most ardent team supporters – and the reporters that cover it – don’t know that this fee was removed three seasons ago, then you can’t expect casual fans to know. I can’t decide what was more dumb – instituting this ridiculous fee to begin with, or not shouting from the rooftops that it was gone.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 31, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      It was a ridiculous fee. And it understandably irked people. Never looked to be a smart move — though 10 other teams did it at the time. And you’re right, not trumpeting its abolishment was another failure of sorts.

  3. charmacharm

    August 31, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Sitting in Camden Yards last night I was appreciating the view of this ultra first class stadium. No city in the country has a more historic or beautifully restored structure seamlessly woven into their ball park. Looking at the sparse scattering of orange in the seats made me feel embarrassed in front of so much blue. What must they think of us ? If the O’s were to leave town would not these same non supporters be hollering from their keyboards -how unfair? Get your butts in the seats, oh O’s fans. Stop complaining and take prideful action. This is a gem of a team right in the heart of your city. No more excuses.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 31, 2016 at 11:06 am

      I totally agree with you charmacharm (wasn’t that an old Boy George tune from the 80s?), BUT you have to understand that a LARGE portion of your fan base resides outside “your city”, many miles and hours from this Mecca of Baseball we call Camden Yards. What you suggest is more easily said than done for more-than-a-large portion of your Oriole fan base. Sorry but that’s the way it is.

      I’m 57 years old(and fading fast), and braving the mega-traffic jam of the I66-495-395 corridor, then walking what seems like miles once I get to “the parking lot”, and then to sit in the sweltering heat and humidity, all the while wondering if I need to leave the game a bit early because I have miles to walk to my car and then MORE miles to drive home before trying to get a few hours of sleep because I HAVE A JOB waiting for me in the morning, well….”pride” be darned.

      I attended a Sox game last week. For all the reasons listed above, it cost me an additional $250 dollars for a night at the Hilton. I will have attended a couple of weekend games this spring and one more this fall when temperatures are bearable. Other than that, I’m going to sit in the comfort of my air conditioned home and listen to my hero Jim Palmer explain just why we’re winning or losing a particular game that night. Heck, I’ll even put up with Mike Bordick’s schtick. This doesn’t make me any less an O’s fan than anybody else. Don’t chastise the O’s fans for what isn’t made to be a particularly “convenient” or affordable experience. Let us BANG OUR KEYBOARDS my friend!! God Bless MASN !!

    • Dan Connolly

      August 31, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      To both charm and Boog, I’m careful to not tell people how to spend their money. And the Orioles are to blame for certain marketing failures. But the bottom line is I’ve heard for years this city and suburban areas simply want a competitive team on the field. Now they have it.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 31, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        It’s not really the expense for me, as the older I get, the more I can afford. What really makes it hard … for me…Boog Robinson Robinson … is that I’m getting older, the trip and walk are getting harder, and the mornings are coming earlier. If I were 21 again, I’d have a different perspective I’m sure. Even the hike through town to get to Memorial seems easier, although in reality, it certainly wasn’t. I guess it’s the “It’s me, not you kinda thing” On another personal note, I watched and followed the O’s all the years they stunk just as much as I do now. But again, that’s only ONE person’s perspective.

  4. charmacharm

    August 31, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Boog, bang on the keyboard to your heart’s content. Glad you attend the games. I admire your courage to navigate some of the worst traffic in the country. However, based on bitter experience I learned that if something is neglected by those who say they need it or love it, it cannot survive. So combined with that, perhaps my strong talk is borne of last night’s shameful feeling regarding the lack of orange. By the way, MASN is on our TV, too.
    Dan yes, there was hollering for CD and we got him. All I am saying is folks, back up your words with action…whatever you can afford. Thanks for this forum. Keep going.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 31, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      Point taken Charmacharm (a Chameleon … nevermind) I too wish there were more people such as yourself to fill the seats. Nothing fills my heart with glee more than watching a gaggle of die hards, beer in hand, scrabling to retrieve a ball that makes it to Eutaw St, such as Wieters blast last night. Go O’s!! I love everyone in this forum!!!!

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 31, 2016 at 3:03 pm

        Scrambling … not scrabling ….I gotta proof read this stuff better ….

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