I'm on the Nationals' e-mail list, which means I get a lot of ads for stupidly overpriced merchandise in between the occasional legitimate offers for cheap tickets. Back in July before the All-Star Game, I got an e-mail asking me to log in and vote for Ian Desmond. Nothing was promised, but what the hell, I was sitting at the computer anyway and it didn't cost nothin'. I made with the clicky and forgot about it. Several weeks later, I get another e-mail thanking me for this and extending me a HUEG LIKE XBOX discount on several games in August, one of which was last night's game against the pitiful Florida Fish Heads, which happened to be Beltway Burger Night AND had a free concert by Sammy Hagar after the game. Hell of a deal, I thought, and after paying off all my other bills at the beginning of this month I shelled out about $17 for the ticket and had them send it to my phone (this is a thing now) so I didn't have to hike all the way to the center field gate. So far so good. After resolving yesterday's dithering in favor of chikuns and a nap, I made the mistake of thinking 395 would be a good route into the city for the game. Wrong-o. The 14th Street Bridge was jammed solid, so I made a move and juked south onto the GW Parkway and made my way to my usual route - across the Woodrow Wilson and up 295 to the park. All this ate up time, and by the time I actually got to the park after parking at Second & P Street (right outside the perimeter wall of Ft. McNair) it was the third inning. The e-ticket kept me from having to go all the way around to the main/center field gate, but I found out when I went to get my burger and soda that the ticket was no good; I'd have to go to Guest Services. Guest Services said I'd need to go to Ticket Services and have them print me out a ticket. Guess where Ticket Services is. >_<
So I hiked halfway around the park to get there and was told burger was DENIED. See, since I used the All-Star voting discount, I didn't get the Burger Pack. Well, no point in blowing up at the ticket services guy (who was protected by a most impressive bulletproof glass setup) but I let him know in a calm, reasonable tone of voice that I was Not Pleased and I was going to write management about it, since there had been no indication on the website that this was the case. Went outside where one of the gate people asked me what was wrong (because I was FILLED WITH RAGE and it was showing), and I explained the situation to her. About halfway through she realized that this made the Nationals look like cheap, greedy bastards and walked me over to aforementioned management types, to whom I vented about my situation specifically and the insanely expensive cost of attending Nationals games generally. Not that the tickets themseves are that expensive, I admitted, but all the ancillary costs (transportation and concessions being the biggies) do a lot to keep poor folks like me away from the games. They decided to act managerial and shut me up by getting me my burger pack**, with the additional bonus of giving me a large drink. So I went away happy and had a great time at the game as the Nationals beat the Fish into paste (9-0, and it wasn't even that close) and Sammy Hagar rocked the place with an hour-long set including most of the songs one would expect to hear in a best-of set, including a couple of tunes from when he was with Van Halen. They preceded the actual concert with a music video montage on the scoreboard screen, which was pretty impressive on the stadium's sound system. The only thing lacking in the concert was the miking of the other band members, which threw things off because you could barely hear them singing. On the other hand, it was very cool to see lots of moms and their teenage daughters rocking out to Sammy. Generation gap? What generation gap?
*You could tell he was senior management because 1) he was a white guy and 2) he wasn't wearing one of the logo T-shirts/polo shirts the customer service grunts wear.
**Which, as it happens, is an additional cost on top of the ticket price, which wasn't obvious from the web site - which implies buying your ticket online gets you the burger pack for free.