I went all the way to Buffalo with neighbour John and his three sons yesterday, but I didn’t get inside Ralph Wilson Stadium.
I watched the entire “Winter Classic” from inside “Mulligan’s Tavern” which is just kitty corner to the stadium and right across the street from the best pizza I’ve ever eaten.
Here’s what happened.
Neighbour during an early New Year’s Eve toast, John mentioned to me that he was taking the boys to Buffalo the next day for the hockey game and planned to buy tickets from scalpers out front.
Here was the strategy. Given that 71 thousand tickets had been sold, and the weather forecast wasn’t the greatest, the chances of getting reasonably priced tickets were pretty good.
I thought about it for a while and they told him I’d come along. I like notable sporting events but thanks to my long and “storied” career as a sportscaster not too often did I ever have to pay for anything. That has changed and I’m slowly getting my head around it, but only to a point.
When we arrived in Orchard Park about 11:30 we started talking to scalpers and the early prices were high. The cheapest face value seat we saw was 53 dollars and the scalpers wanted two hundred.
We laughed it off and went on to the next scalper who was obviously working for the same network as the first guy. He wanted two hundred for the 53 dollar ticket, but he was willing to be more reasonable for a two hundred dollar club seat. He only wanted $350.00 for those but he was holding firm.
Neighbour John and I quickly determined that we’d have to wait these guys out. We’d wait till after the bloody puck was dropped if we had to, but there was no way we were going to pay those kinds of prices.
We walked around for awhile, and then at about 12:30, John got lucky. He wanted to make sure the boys go into the stadium before the game to see the spectacle of it all and he ran into a guy who wasn’t scalping he was a regular guy who had a few corporate seats left over and he just wanted to get rid of them.
He had three to be exact, just enough for the boys so John paid him $450 for three, $220 seats, expensive, but based on face value, a pretty good deal.
John and I walked the boys to their gate and made sure they were through and we went back to the street with a new strategy. We would buy singles. It’s harder to for scalpers to get rid of singles but we decided we’d buy them at a reasonable price and then hook up inside.
It was game time now and the puck had just been dropped when John hit pay-dirt. It was another guy with corporate seats and he had one club level seat left. John gave him $90 for the $220 seat and I urged him to immediately go into the stadium because the game had started and I knew he’d feel better being inside with his boys.
It didn’t matter anyway, because I felt pretty confident I too was going to get a good deal within the next few minutes. Wrong.
First of all, I couldn’t find a “corporate” guy and unfortunately there were way too many people like me who thought they could beat the scalpers by waiting them out.
Turns out there were a lot more people like me than there were tickets available so all it did was drive the prices up even more. The scalpers stood there with people from Buffalo, Toronto and Pittsburgh desperate to get inside waving money around.
Those $53 tickets became $250 and the club seats held their value, and then the clincher came for me.
A scalper showed me a ten dollar ticket. A ticket that was only good for getting into the stadium. The view was next to non-existent and they were printed only for those who wanted to feel the atmosphere without really seeing the game.
Perfect I thought, I’ll buy one of these and then weasel my way to where John is. I asked the guy “how much” and was floored when he said one hundred bucks. But as I took a few seconds to ponder getting sucked in this bad a young woman reached over my shoulder with a hundred bucks and it was gone.
That was it. I was done. The scalpers only had the expensive stuff left and they were getting their way with every transaction.
I walked across the street to “Mulligans Tavern”, but not before buying a piece of pizza off a vender in one of those big trailers. New York Pizza it was called, and it was absolutely delicious. Especially the crust which was fresh, soft and tasty.
And oh yea, on the way home we stopped off at the Anchor Bar.
Category: Neighbour John | Sports