At a recent visit to a Mets game (sorry I can’t bring myself to call it anything other than Shea Stadium) I was reminded of a story about baseball tickets.
Like many companies that entertain customers and clients, Seagram had a designated employee that handled customer/trade events and trips, national sales incentive programs and – the big prize – season tickets to sporting events in the NYC area.
One of these individuals, who I will call Mr. Keeper, was a nice and friendly guy until the subject of tickets came up. He didn’t see himself merely as the guardian or custodian of the coveted seats. Oh no, he was the protector, the de facto owner. Requests for tickets to a game were more often than not subjected to interrogation as to the identity of the intended customer and the rationale behind the request. And, invariably, unless the requestor was of significant ‘rank’ the request was denied outright or “someone else already got them.”
The management of the US operation passed to a new team and Mr. Keeper got an assignment outside of the US operation but still based in NYC.
The team that took over had its own designated employee to handle the customer relations, events and incentive trips. But when the first need for ballgame tickets arose, Mr. Keeper informed the new designate that the seats will be staying with Mr. Keeper and will be doled out as he saw fit.
Needless to say the new team was incensed and a (gentle) management skirmish erupted. But, with bigger issues to be addressed, the matter was set aside — not forgotten, just temporarily tabled.
One day, a senior executive asked for and grudgingly received tickets to a top notch Mets game.
While he knew the general vicinity on the field level where the seats were located, he wasn’t sure as to the exact location. He stopped an usher at the top of the section and handed the tickets to him. The usher looked at the tickets, looked at the executive, then back at the tickets, then at the executive again.
“Anything wrong?” asked the executive.
“Oh no,” said the usher. “I’m just surprised that you’re sitting in Mr. Keeper’s seats.”
For all I know he still has those seats.