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The Nationals Make Me Sick April 13, 2005

Literally, the Nationals made me sick on Monday. After being promised on Friday that my tickets were being mailed out that day and would arrive no-later-than Monday, their non-appearance caused me enough agitation to make me ill.

Here is the whole saga. After finding some unexpected money, I decided to take a chance on the Nationals and buy their 41 plan. Two tickets in section 512, a little to the right up from and behind home plate. Row 2, seats 13 & 14. I ordered them on March 23rd and have been excited about the prospect of being a half-season ticket holder since. I feel like a new homeowner–somehow this purchase has elevated my social standing.

Last Friday, T-6 days to the home opener, I called to check on my missing tickets. The Nationals hotline reported a busy tone all morning but I finally got it ringing in the afternoon. Unfortunately, after about 20 minutes on hold, I had to make an emergency dash for the head. Returning a little lighter, it only took another try or two to join the silent queue waiting for a representative. Why they don’t have some sort of noise on the hold is I hope an issue of just being new and not purchasing the more advanced equipment necessary.

After 50 minutes on hold, the line was filled with the sudden ringing of hope. Unfortunately, it rang about 12-15 times and then I was disconnected. I am a patient man, willing to wait my turn, but when I get rejected like that, it burns my nubby little man nipples in a bad way.

On my third trip through the queue, after 1 hour and 6 minutes, I got a human. Somebody whose name started with a “B” with a “y” somewhere in there too. He took my information and put me on hold for about 3 minutes. Upon returning, he told me that my tickets were being shipped that day, overnighted even, and I should receive them either Saturday or by the latest Monday.

Yay! I said silently. I thanked B-man and sighed contently. I had planned to Ebay my home opener tickets. I don’t like big crowds. I can take the regular games because most of those people want to be at a baseball game. People clawing over each other to make it to the home opener and only the home opener want to be at an event.

So, I was going to Ebay those tickets but I wanted the tickets in-my-hand before getting someone’s hopes up with a winning bid. But I couldn’t wait any longer. The shortest auction time is 3 days. Add in a payment and shipping cushion and Saturday was pushing the boundaries. I started the auction, set to run until the middle of the day on Tuesday. I set a reserve price of $60 which is double the face value. I wasn’t trying to be greedy, but I wanted to make giving up the tickets worthwhile.

Over the weekend, the Nationals released a public apology and said all the tickets had been mailed and everyone would have them by Monday.

On Monday, the tickets were not there. I bugged the front desk of my building at 6PM, 8PM, 10PM and then again at 7 AM the next morning. No Tickets.

In cases of extreme stress or agitation, I get sick. Uncontrollable-poop-and-vomit sick. Thank goodness I am gay because my wedding day would end up with a nice white dress with a big brown train following it. I would need to be carried over the threshold. Instead, a nice gentle push and I could slide in on my own poop-lubed trail.

So, I was unable to go to work on Tuesday morning. And I knew the only way to not remain sick was to take care of the catalyst. I needed closure on the tickets.

I called the hotline, waited too long again (1 hour and 10 minutes). The first thing she told me was that all the tickets had been mailed. But, but, but I haven’t gotten my tickets. She asked for my info, put me on hold and returned to tell me that my tickets will be mailed that day to arrive tomorrow (Wednesday). Hmmm, if all tickets had been mailed, which I was told just a few seconds ago plus in the apology release and by the B-man on Friday, how are mine shipping that day?

The lady-on-the-phone said that if it comes down to Thursday, I could pick up generic tickets at Will-Call. Sure, 45,000 people and me wanting to pick up 2 tickets at the box office.

I felt it only right to cancel my auction, knowing I would have no way of selling the tickets on Ebay now, since I wasn’t confident I would have the tickets to give to someone in a reasonable way.

I decided to shower and hit the Metro for a trip to the stadium. I needed to check out the path anyway, since I am a big old anal retentive queen. When I got to the stadium, I couldn’t find the place I needed to go to. I found a building in front of the team store that looked like the place but it had no way to actually reach the front door. There was a wheelchair ramp but it was roped off with yellow tape. I went into the team store and asked and found out I had walked by it. Gate F which isn’t really a gate I guess, but a door into a lobby with an elevator.

On the way through this hunt, the whole DC United crew came along on their way to the practice field and I just filed in with them, snapping a few shots with my camera phone. Yes, little fat schlub in the middle of all the red and black uniformed athletes with those hot legs and not one of them gave me an evil look.

Okay, so I go through the door way to find a lobby in the process of being built and cleaned. No signs or anything. Luckily one of the construction workers was on a break (or he was the boss) and he told me that I needed to go to the fourth floor.

On the fourth floor I found a receptionist, put my name on a list and waited. There were others there for the same purpose and boxes & boxes of tickets being shipped out (so much for the whole “everybody’s tickets have been shipped”).

The gentleman next to me kept asking me questions about baseball so I assumed he wasn’t there to pick up his tickets. Instead, he told me, he was there to drop off a new car. Only later did I learn that he was dropping off a brand new Hummer for a player. Antonio Osuna in fact. When I overheard that, I started to tell him to just take it back until Osuna stopped costing us games, but well, maybe Osuna has been preoccupied waiting for his Hummer to arrive like I have been preoccupied waiting for my tickets to get to me.

Eventually, Adam came out and listened to me whine a bit. He reiterated that my tickets were mailed that day and would be to me tomorrow. I tried to make him understand that I didn’t have a problem with the wait for the tickets. I did have a problem with the false information and that caused me to not trust what he was saying. I wasn’t about to believe my tickets would arrive when he said.

I talked him into printing my home opener tickets and I walked out of there with the tickets and his card for direct access if the rest don’t show up today. And I am going to the game, dealing with the crowds and the Bushy security and all.