Fans Asked to Deal with Less than Stellar Seasons

28 11 2009

Pittsburgh Pirates completed 17th consecutive losing season (

Before Thanksgiving, David Biderman did an entertaining piece for the Wall Street Journal that cleverly calls into question the disparity between hefty ticket prices and unimpressive performance.

His article, “Dear Fans, Please Forgive Us” is a compilation of open letters from professional sports teams to their fans, is copied below:

Teams from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Timberwolves to the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer got a head start on giving thanks for the holidays—in the form of open letters to their fans. Many of these come with appeals for season-ticket renewals; others cop to just plain old poor play. Below is a composite of some of the best mea culpas that have crossed our desk.

 To Our Great Fans,

Your team has played very hard this season, but with an unprecedented amount of injuries we just haven’t been able to attain a victory.(1)

Our record was to be expected – but it will not be accepted. Big difference, I think. What matters most to me is how we respond to adversity this season – knowing it will come in heavy doses occasionally.(2)

Self-analysis started for me and our staff on Saturday night. It is an unpleasant but necessary process. At some point we will be able to distance ourselves emotionally, and in doing so find some positives from the 2009 season.(3)

Our hope was that a solid club leadership would emerge on and off the field and that some intangible combinations would begin to click resulting in many winning streaks.(4)

Our unwillingness to accept mediocrity has caused you additional aggravation over the short term. We regret that this was necessary but you deserve much more than a mediocre team.(5)

We are currently finalizing our ticket pricing for 2010. Season Tickets prices will be reduced by an average of more than 10 percent, with several seating areas being adjusted by more than 20 percent.(6)

I am extremely proud of our franchise, its accomplishments, and the region and fans that we represent. We have an illustrious history, one which we are all anxious to add to, and if someone does not wish to be with us as we head in this direction, then we will move on, and move forward.(7)

There is not a lot else to say, just that as a group of professionals we were embarrassed by the way we performed, we feel it was below our standards and this is something we feel we owe to the fans.(8)

I love my job because I love this team…

Go Padres!(9)

1. From a Nov. 15 letter to fans from New Jersey Nets’ Chief Executive Brett Yormark, citing the team’s 0-10 start and imploring them to attend a home game two days later. The Nets lost that game before nearly 9,000 empty seats.

2. An address to fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves this month from President David Kahn after the team’s 1-9 start, writing in part about injuries to multiple players and also about not using those injuries as excuses for losing.

3. An Oct. 26 open letter to fans from Colorado Rapids Managing Director Jeff Plush on the team’s missing the Major League Soccer playoffs for a third consecutive year.

4. A July 13 open letter to Washington Nationals’ fans announcing the firing of manager Manny Acta.

5. From a Web-site letter by Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly after this year, the team’s 17th consecutive losing season, a record for major sports in the U.S.

6. From a letter sent to New York Mets’ ticketholders after this past season.

7. From an April letter from Denver Broncos President and CEO Pat Bowlen to fans explaining the trade of quarterback Jay Cutler.

8. A note on the Web site of the Wigan Athletic Football Club of the English Premier League from defender Mario Melchiot a day after the club allowed a league-record nine goals in one game. Wigan offered fans a refund of the cost of their game tickets.

9. A note to San Diego Padres season-ticket holders from CEO Jeff Moorad after the season, in which the team finished 20 games out of first place.




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