SAN DIEGO - "I want the Padre fans of San Diego to know that the Padres are greedy, and they sold out loyal fans for the mighty dollar," said longtime Padres fan Kathleen La Gamma after she learned the team had switched her season tickets on the evening of what she considers to be the big game of the year.
La Gamma's half-season tickets always include Saturday night games, but she did not get a ticket for the Saturday night home game against the Yankees.
"They gave me a Sunday game at 1 o'clock, out in the sun, not my Saturday night game," La Gamma told 10News reporter Allison Ash. "It's the only Saturday night I don't have on a home game."
La Gamma believes the Padres plan to sell her ticket for more money, and she is not taking it lightly. She not only sent emails and made phone calls to the Padres ticket office, she also called San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. La Gamma hopes Selig sends letters to other major league teams, reminding them that fans come first.
"I find it so hard to believe that they would do that to fans. I really, really do," she said. "Why would anybody do that? It doesn't make any sense."
La Gamma told 10News she has had the same seats on the same nights since Petco Park opened in 2004. Before that, she held season tickets at both Qualcomm Stadium and Westgate Park. Her La Mesa home is filled with souvenirs, including autographed baseballs, Padres pins and lots of fan clothing.
Even though she has fond memories of the friends she has made in the stands and the ushers she has become close with over the years, La Gamma said this will be the last year she buys season tickets, because she feels like the Padres ripped her off.
10News went to the Padres ticket office to find out why some season ticket holders had been moved for the Yankees games. Our crew was asked to leave the office, and later received a brief statement from Padres President and CEO Tom Garfinkel.
"This is a standard practice among teams, but we admittedly didn't do a good job of communicating to Season Ticket Holders on the front end. We did offer Season Ticket Holders the option of purchasing up to six tickets for each New York Yankees game at their discounted season ticket price, before the general public. We are dealing with the situation on a customer-by-customer basis and are working to take care of the fans who are upset."
10News spoke to one couple who confronted ticket office workers and were able to exchange their Sunday afternoon seats for two tickets on Saturday night. The seats were just one row back from their normal seats.
La Gamma told 10News that is not good enough. She said she is now disgusted by the Padres organization and plans to spend the season passing out fliers to alert other fans about how the team mishandled their strongest supporters.
"It will be my last season," said La Gamma. "I will not renew my season tickets again. I don't want to ever see that ballpark again."