October 12, 2011
The rivalry between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers is reaching unprecedented levels at this point. In addition to the on-field incidents such as exchanging beanballs and complaints about scoreboard lighting, we can now add family seating arrangements to that growing list.
As Amy K. Nelson of ESPN reports, the Brewers let their dissatisfaction be heard when they arrived to Busch Stadium on Wednesday and learned about the strange allocation of some 350 tickets allotted to their family members for the next three games in the NLCS.
Of those tickets allotted, Nelson reports 130 to 150 will be seated comfortably in a party suite down the right-field line, with indoor and outdoor seating, and food beverage services. However, the remaining 200 tickets are spread randomly throughout the ballpark, with family members being broken down into much smaller groups.
"You know I think it's bush [league]," Brewers center fielder Nyjer Morgan(notes) said. "Our families, they've got to be secured. It's kind of garbage. We put their [families] in a secure section and then they want to spread ours out. I don't know why they play the mental games, but that right there, they shouldn't play the games right there because that's our family and our family has got to be secure. But that's just them, that's how they operate right there I guess."
As Morgan alluded to and Nelson confirmed, Cardinals family members were seated together and placed behind the net behind home plate to keep them safe from foul balls and flying bats at Miller Park. Now, you might think it's unfair or unrealistic for Milwaukee to expect the exact same hospitality for their families in St. Louis, but it should be noted family members of the Philadelphia Phillies were given that courtesy in the NLDS.
The policy was then changed for the NLCS.
This whole things screams gamesmanship on the part of the Cardinals, which is certainly within their rights to do. Giving Brewers players a little something else to think (worry) about other than baseball could give them a slight mental edge on some level. But Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak insists that is not the case.
"I understand it's a very competitive series," said Mozeliak, who was aware of the Brewers' dissatisfaction. "Obviously we play each other because we're in the same division and things can get heated up. But as far as ticket allocation and things of that nature, I don't think any of this is part of gamesmanship. I think, frankly, is what we were trying to accomplish is providing them with a great atmosphere to watch the game in a protected environment."
Impossible to buy that explanation given the knowledge of how the Phillies were treated, but again, it's within their rights to manipulate the policy. I just hope for the Cardinals' sake it doesn't lead to any uncomfortable or unsafe moments for the Brewers or their families. That would be quite a black eye for the Cardinals organization and their fanbase. One I'm not sure is worth risking for the slightest of mental advantages.
UPDATE: Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel reports that the Cardinals say the situation has been resolved.