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Monday, May 19, 2008

AT&T Park (SF Giants) - America's Ripoff Joint

I love AT&T Park (aka: Pacific Bell Park, Pac Bell Park, SBC Park, and Telephone Park) because it is a beautiful stadium to watch games. Even sitting at the upper deck gets you great views of the park, the views of the water and East Bay, and doesn't require you to use binoculars to view the game.

But have you noticed that we are getting really ripped off? Like real badly...

Here's a list of things I think is terrible about the ballpark:
  • Outrageous prices on tickets. They offer three levels of prices:
    • Cheapest tickets are for games on Monday-Thursday.
    • "Weekend" tickets are for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday games.
    • "Premium" games are always against the Dodgers, New York teams, and some A's games.
  • Then, the tickets for certain sections go for outrageous prices. Want the crappiest seats in the park? Go for the centerfield bleachers. Worst upper deck seats are the last five sections in left field. They sell for cheap, but who the hell can watch a game in those seats?
    • The best seats, therefore the most expensive seats are in the "Lexus" dugout seats, equipped with padded seats, and you are so close to the home plate.
      • Just how much for face value? It cost me about $125. This does not include any additional fees.
      • The best seats for A's tickets is no more than $90. The cheapest seats for the A's is just $9! Come on AT&T Park.
  • And how about those ticket fees? They try to nickel and dime you for every time you buy a ticket. If you purchase at a Giants Dougout location (except the ballpark location) or any tickets.com outlet, you get charged a 17% FEE. What the hell is this?
    • The best time to buy tickets is when you visit the Dugout store at the ballpark or the advance ticket window. They have a much lower service fee.
      • Here's an interesting fact, San Francisco Muni wanted to get a little more money to provide service to the ballpark. They wanted to propose an additional tax on game ticket fees. Hell no.
        • To add insult to injury, Muni DOES NOT ACCEPT BART-TO-MUNI transfers when purchasing your ticket to return from the ballpark to BART. What little bitches! I get a 25 cent discount, and I WANT IT!
  • And how about the food?
    • These guys rip you off so badly. I can easily spend $25 at a ballpark for a half-assed meal. For that money, I can go across the street at Amici's and get myself a large New England Clam Pizza with a soda and possibly some pesto pasta!
      • Why half-assed food? Here's something. I ordered a clam chowder in a bread bowl, and while the soup was OK, the damn bread was STALE! So dry, that the bread bowl soaked in soup was dry enough to make me cough for five minutes.
  • And to add insult to injury...
    • The Giants have now BANNED ALL OPEN BEVERAGES from entering the park, including bottles that have their seal broken.
      • Their reply is that this is to prevent underage drinking.
        • My answer: It is just another way to rip us off by making us fans purchase beverages that cost nearly three times its regular price at grocery stores and other places.
        • Plus, I can't bring in my iced coffee drink from McDonald's

If the Giants wants to stop ripping us off with these outrageous prices, it's time for some changes.
  1. Barry Bonds is gone, he was the star attraction, and now you are selling games with about 9,000 seats still available (this happened at last Friday's game). Also, the team is doing terrible. Reduce prices on admission tickets. Eliminate the SRO (standing room only) and use those prices to offer the hardest seats to sell (upper deck left field).
  2. Lower food prices. It should not cost $4.00 for a Churro (Costco is only $1), and no little hot dog costs $4.50.
  3. Cut back on some of these bogus "park safety" rules. Open bottles are OK, as long as it is not beer or liquor. Why not have the staff sniff the liquid? Alcohol has an obvious smell.
  4. If you love watching them on TV, write to KNTV (aka NBC 11, the second worst local TV station in San Francisco) and tell them to give it back to KTVU, the ULTIMATE KING OF BASEBALL AND NEWS.
  5. It is time to follow other major league parks and offer ALL YOU CAN EAT plans. Our neighbors, the Oakland A's have nosebleed top deck seats with all you can eat food and drink, like hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, sodas, and ice cream. All for the starting price of $35 a ticket. AT&T Park management should use the upper deck left field seats (crappiest in park), and use them for all you can eat plans for a fair price. You'll get a great attendance boost, and with a good choice of food, will be extremely popular.
Well, there's my thoughts. Thanks for reading. If you have any comments on this, please post them on my blog site at: http://www.akit.org/2008/05/at-park-sf-giants-americas-ripoff-joint.html

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) IV - xbox 360 multiplayer UNRELIABLE and SUCKS

Did you go and buy Grand Theft Auto 4 recently? I did for my xbox 360, and while the single player program is great, the MULTIPLAYER SUCKS!

Why does it suck?

First of all, it is not like the multiplayer setup operated by games like Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4. In very rare cases, you might have some mulitplayer issues.

But in GTA IV... their multiplayer setup is absolutely unreliable. Sometimes you hear voices in your headset, and then you get kicked-off for no apparent reason and sent back to single player. The GTA program should have its own separate multiplayer area instead of being forced to go through single player and log-into the system every time you want to play online. With the loading time so long, it's just frustrating.

Odds of getting a multiplayer game on GTA IV: 1 in 10 (10 percent (or even lower) chance)
Odds of getting a multiplayer game on Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4: 1 in 1 (100% chance)

Second, when you are lucky to even get into the multiplayer system, there are SO FEW players playing at all. The system does not pack rooms to the maximum capacity of 16 people. Instead, you are more than likely playing with no more than six people at a time, which makes the game much less fun and less challenging. In many of my cases, I get sent to the game lobby where I am the ONLY PERSON waiting for more players and setting-up the game.

HERE'S A TIP FOR THOSE FOLKS AT ROCKSTAR GAMES: FIX THE DAMN SYSTEM! Why not just rewrite the entire multiplayer system to mimic what Halo 3 or Call of Duty 4 does? You'll find that by having a separate multiplayer menu that does not force you back into single player mode when the game is over or when you get kicked by accident, you'll have much more happy fans.

Right now, I'm not happy.

Do you agree? Post a comment on my blog at http://www.akit.org/2008/05/grand-theft-auto-gta-iv-xbox-360.html