April 30, 2020 | 11:12pm
To steal from legendary sportscaster Warner Wolf, if you had the Mets and Yankees extending sympathy and virtual hugs during this unprecedented nightmare … you lost!
With Major League Baseball starting no time soon, New York’s two clubs released their long-awaited ticket policies to address the COVID-19 shutdown, and look, they could have been worse. You can get refunded for games scheduled at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium through April.
Really, though, shouldn’t we expect much better from these franchises?
Because we know there won’t be any games anywhere through May and very likely through June, and who knows if there’ll be games in New York at all? Because you have to endure a “Where’s Waldo?”-type exercise just to find mention of refunds in the official statements on the team websites and then jump through hoops to actually execute the refund. And because the Mets, in particular, will hold onto your money for another week before even beginning the process and will penalize you for asking if you can have said money back.
We know it needn’t be this difficult, because we can see what the Red Sox did. The rivals from up north offer refunds as the first and default option, rather than the last — and for all games through May.
Stipulated that professional sports teams are among those taking the biggest hits in this crisis. Professional sports teams, however, are not small businesses. They are built to last. To serve as community leaders and help those in trouble. And we are in trouble to the tune of about a 20 percent unemployment rate in this country.
The Yankees reached out to all of their affected ticket-holders on Thursday to inform them of the policy. One such person, Marc Phillips of Manhattan, has owned a half-season plan with the Yankees for four years.
“All I can say is they lost a season ticket-holder,” Phillips wrote in a text message. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”
The Yankees first mention refunds in their fifth paragraph, and that option comes last, after a rain check policy, credits and bonuses. Perhaps I’m being too sensitive about that order except that, again, the Red Sox led with the refunds. You then must scroll near the bottom, under “Other Options,” to learn that ticket-holders must contact either their ticket representative or visit their Ticketmaster account, as applicable, to ask for a refund. Let’s hope there won’t be too much wrangling on those fronts. Please let us know if there is.
Compared to the Mets on the generosity front, however, the Yankees look like Bill Gates. The Mets’ refund info also resides near the bottom of their update, under “additional information.” You can’t even start the refund process, by applying through your online Mets ticket account, until May 7. The final sentence of the passage reads, “All ticket refunds will result in the forfeiture of bonus credit and priority ticket access.”
The flip side of that is the Mets are offering generous such credits and access to those who stay. Yet the entirety of this policy will only enhance the widely held perception that the Mets and their current owners are in financial peril.
How disappointing, here where we’ve been hit so hard by the pandemic. The good news is they can change their minds, their wording, whenever they want. Given the anger and anxiety out there, it wouldn’t surprise if their ticket-holders’ feedback transforms instantly into blowback and leaves them wishing they had been more supportive from the get-go.