Indians Baseball is Affordable for the Entire Family
Laurel Wilder | On 06, Dec 2013
This week the DTTWLN staff is doing an in-depth look at the Cleveland Indians attendance. While everyone knows the Indians have an attendance problem, how they necessarily got to this point appears to be an explanation with many answers including play on the field, population and economic changes and improvements in technology. Regardless of the reasons, one thing is certain, the Indians have an attendance problem. Today, we examine the benefits of being a season ticket holder and the family experience.
Previous Stories This Week:
From the Perfect Storm to the Indians Attendance Disaster by Bob Toth
Times Have Changed While Indians Attendance Issues Have Worsened by Mike Brandyberry
Indians Attendance Issues Have Spanned Over 65 Years by Vince Guerrieri
The Tipping Point in this Generation’s Attendance Decline by Vince Guerrieri
The Dyamics of Dynamic Pricing by Mike Brandyberry
Why is Cleveland a Browns Town? by Bob Toth
A Youthful Approach to Getting Your Money’s Worth at an Indians Game by Laurel Wilder
When I sat down to talk to Keir Kurinsky about his experience with the Cleveland Indians, I felt accomplished having gone to about 15 Indians game throughout the 2013 season. After our conversation, however, I felt severely lacking in my Tribe spirit. Keir, a season ticket holder for the past two seasons, told me the story of he and his daughter, Ada, who attended upwards of 60 games this past season and had gone to every game in 2012.
This statistic is impressive for any dad and daughter, but is only made more noteworthy when taking Ada’s age into account – she’s three.
Within the first few years of her life, Ada had already been to 81 baseball games. 81. That’s more than many adults can say that they’ve been to. With such a high level of attendance, it’s obvious that Keir and Ada are fans not only of the Indians, but of the atmosphere you find at the ballpark, the other fans, and the level of service provided by the Indians.
“I’ve always loved baseball,” Keir said of how he got started as an Indians’ season ticket holder. Keir, a lifelong Cubs fan, grew up watching baseball and loving the game. However, as he grew older and started working, baseball was unfortunately one of the things that fell to the wayside; he couldn’t watch or attend as many games as in the past.
When Keir and his wife, Jen, moved to Bay Village a few years ago, Ada was born in February and attended her first game that April. By the time she was two months old, Ada was already being conditioned to be an Indians fan.
“That whole summer, we couldn’t really do much,” Keir said. “I work for myself, so it made sense that I stayed home with her [instead of going to more games]…It was awesome because I would take her for walks at night. I bought an old, cheap transistor radio and I would listen to the Indians radio telecast every night. That entire season, I listened to every home and every single away game. I think that made me fall back in love with the game.”
Following that season in which Keir’s love for baseball was rekindled, Jen asked him what he wanted for Christmas. Still riding on his baseball high, Keir told her he thought it would be “neat to take Ada to every single game.”
The decision to get a full season ticket package was, as Keir described it, “a no-brainer.”
Thus, a father/daughter love for baseball and the Cleveland Indians began in earnest at Progressive Field.
Attending the entire 2012 season became second nature to both Keir and Ada. Their regular attendance, Keir said, opened up special aspects of the game they would not have encountered otherwise. Sitting with he same group of people for 81 games, along with encountering the same employees throughout the season, created connections with the Cleveland Indians at the ballpark that Keir never thought possible.
“It’s neat to see all those people on a daily basis,” Keir said. He said that people began to grow curious about his “project” with Ada, and that the growing popularity of his experiences garnered attention from not only fans, but the organization itself.
“The Indians caught wind of it and noticed that it was something special,” Keir said. Through this acknowledgement, Keir said that “cool stuff” started happening. They were invited to suites for different games and were even granted media credentials to attend different media events.
“I wanted to take my daughter to baseball; I wasn’t expecting stuff like that!” Keir laughed, describing it as an, “awesome bonus” to see the backend of baseball.
Along with the outstanding treatment Keir and Ada received from the organization, Keir raved about the more universal amenities available to families at the ballpark.
“I tell everyone, the Kid’s Clubhouse, what the Indians have done with that is amazing,” Keir said. “There is no way I would ever have been able to do this at any other ballpark if that facility wasn’t available.” Keir described the Clubhouse, with it’s family-friendly atmosphere, designated restrooms with TVs and leather chaise lounges for mothers still breast-feeding their children. The Kid’s Clubhouse, Keir said, truly caters to bringing a family-friendly and welcoming atmosphere to the ballpark.
“They’ve got tons of activities in there,” Keir said, talking about arts and crafts and a rock climbing wall provided for young children who may tire of the game.
“I’ve been to tons of different ballparks and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Keir said. “Without this facility, I never would have been able to do this; I would have left after every second inning.”
“They show an interest in the up-keep of it to keep fans coming back,” Keir said.
And come back Keir did – and still does. He advocates for the stadium for anyone, not just those with young children such as himself and expresses shock that more people do not take advantage of Progressive Field and all the Indians offer.
“Look at every other organization,” Keir said. “I’ve been on the Cubs’ season ticket holder list for over 20 years and every year I’ve checked my number. It’s always been fantasy or a dream to get tickets.” Keir said that his number was called this season and he was invited to Chicago for a potential season ticket holder event. Those ticket prices, he described, were crazy.
“The value of the ticket is so less than what is involved and what you get,” Keir described. With the Indians, he said, if you factor in parking and the family aspect and everything available to you at Progressive Field, “it’s got to be one of the best values in baseball.”
“Tickets are so reasonably priced. Being a season ticket holder, you get so many discounts.”
Even for those who are not season ticket holders, Keir expressed shock that people wouldn’t buy tickets. “You can get cheap, last minute tickets. Sure, if you’re buying them through the Indians, I understand they have premium prices, but if you go on StubHub, you can get tickets the day of the game for $8; it’s crazy!”
“If you’re complaining about the price of a ticket, then you don’t know how to do it and you haven’t been to enough games to figure it out,” Keir chastised those expressing digest over ticket prices. “I think they’re right in line, if not better valued, Major League Baseball tickets.”
“I rack my brain, because we’ve gone to so many games,” Keir said when asked about his feelings regarding Indians attendance. “Being a business owner myself, I don’t know why the fans aren’t showing up. They have promotions all the time. It shocks me that certain games were almost sell-outs…I don’t know why they’re not showing up.”
Keir describes learning the mindset of the “Cleveland fan.” “The ‘waiting for next year’ theory,” Keir describes it. “The fans give up. I’m a Cubs fan, but that stadium is awful, the tickets are through the roof, and they are terrible as a team, yet it’s sold out every night.”
“I don’t understand what more the Indians could do to bring fans down there,” Keir said. “I scratch my head…What else can do for under $30 and get four or five hours of enjoyment? A movie is more expensive than that, and it’s only a few hours and you don’t even know if the movie will be good!”
“It will be interesting next season. Fans want you to put a winning team on the field,” Keir said. “Well, there you go! They did.”
“I’m not even from here and it makes me mad,” Keir said. “I don’t expect anything else from [the Indians]. Keep doing what you’re doing. That’s all I want.”
Keir said he’s not sure if the season tickets will happen again in 2014, but he knows that, regardless, he will be in attendance at a high number of games. His experience with the Indians and his family has been something he deeply values, a relationship that he wants to continue for years to come.
“The romance of baseball kind of spilled over to not just on the field, but to the people around us, to the employees, to the team. It was neat,” Keir said. Hopefully, his enthusiasm and love of the game will continue on with Ada, with those around him, and will inspire a wave of people to give the team a chance. If Progressive Field can sway a man from Chicago and his young daughter, surely they can bring in a city, as well.
Photo: Provided by Keir Kurinsky