"Anyone grandfathered into the Combo Plan (nights and weekends) isn't benefiting from all of their restructuring since the price drops will all be in games not included in their package. I would gather this group will almost assuredly be in the group whose prices actually go up since they now have the Premiere-Ultra-Awesome-Happy-Fun-Luxury Tier games to pay for without [lower-tiered games] to offset that cost."
So, it's not like I didn't already know this was coming.
What was surprising was the timing of the letter and the bumped up time frame where the Cubs expected us to make our decisions to renew. In previous years, the renewal letter didn't even come out until the end of November or the beginning of December. They would then want our answer by the week before Christmas and the invoice would be due by mid-January.
This year, we have until November 1st to decide. (Payment is still not due until January.)
Nevermind that the Cubs will be nowhere close to being able to tell us what the team is going to look like in 2011 by November 1. Players can't file for free agency until five days after the World Series ends, so teams can't really talk specifically about players they want to target without violating tampering rules before that. The World Series will end on October 31st if it is a four game sweep, so the earliest we could start hearing about who Hendry wants to target will be November 5th.
We may not even know who the manager will be before November 1st. If the Cubs are holding out to speak with Joe Girardi before making their choice, there is a real possibility he won't be done with his season until after November 1 as the Yankees go deeper into the post-season.
Once again, the arrogance of the Chicago Cubs ticket office comes through. They once again pointed out to us in the renewal letter (as though we had maybe somehow forgotten how much they have us by the short and curlies) that there are 116,000 people waiting for these season tickets, so we better make our decision NOW! They are requiring their fan base make a leap of faith and trust that 2011 will be worth the expense, when they have provided little evidence that it won't be worse than 2010.
So why haven't I already faxed my form back in with a big "FUCK YOU" written on it?
I wish I had a sane and rational answer for you. The only answer is that the Cubs are an addiction.
I fear the withdrawal of not being able to go to fifty-plus games per year as I have for the past 13 years. I fear the remote possibility that the Cubs will find themselves in the World Series and I'll have to watch on television, when a little faith (and a nice chunk of money spent) would have gotten me the rights to see the Cubs play a World Series in Wrigley. But more than anything, I know I'll never be able to get them back.
I know my friends at ACB who read this will be (dying laughing) at the thought of a Cubs World Series team since they have shown pretty clearly that it is going to take a whole lot of luck and more money spent on the payroll than the Ricketts seem willing to spend to even come close to the post-season, but here I am about to lose sleep with a real anxiety that prevents me from just telling the Cubs to take their flat pricing and shove it up their noodle. At some point, in the middle of the night, I fully expect to see the "Trainspotting" baby with Tyler Colvin's head crawling on my ceiling.
This is what the Cubs are counting on. They know that all of those 27,000 tickets per game are held by people who have a similar irrational fear as me. They know they could write a letter that says we have to agree to be nut-punched every day until Christmas in order to renew and we would do it. And if a few season ticket holders decided not to get punched in the junk every day, there are 116,000 more people who will take the punches instead.
If the Cubs were any other team in the world, Wrigleyville would be a ghost town after 102 years of losing. At least when the Red Sox got into the 80 year range, they started fielding consistently contending teams. Every year, their fans went into the season thinking they had a realistic shot. With only a few notable exceptions, Cubs fans go into practically every season with no real basis for the fans' optimism and there is still a huge crush to buy tickets. Remember how Cubs fans thought the projections had to be wrong when they all were putting the 2010 Cubs at 3rd or 4th in the Central with about 80 wins?
It is fascinating that the addictive behavior that is found in only a few of the crazier members of other fan bases is an epidemic within the Cubs fan base. For some reason, the Cubs have joined the cigarette companies in openly pushing an addictive and harmful product on a populace that can't seem to use reason and logic when making a purchase decision.
Shouldn't the government be regulating Cubs ticket sales? Clearly we are being led down a path of dispair and destruction by the Cubs and we can't be trusted to make the smart decision. The State of Illinois could close their budget gap by putting taxes on Cubs tickets that rival cigarette taxes. Cubs fans would pay it. I'm shocked it hasn't already happened.
The deadline is approaching and I know what the smart decision is. The only question is whether I have the willpower to make the right decision.
Hey! We get a baseball autographed by Castro, Colvin, and Cashner if we renew and pay by check! What a nice gesture! That's pretty sweet!
... Damn it!