My curiosity was piqued last week when I received an email from the Cubs Ambassador Program regarding my blog post about their mishandled pitcher and mug set promotion on May 17 (If you missed it, you can read the whole story here.).
A nice representative named Tom wanted to call me to discuss the matter. I obliged, and we proceeded to have a productive phone call yesterday morning. The gist? The pitcher and mug sets, which were to be given to the first 10,000 fans to enter Wrigley Field on that spirited Friday, did not arrive at the ballpark until late Thursday afternoon. This gave the Cubs little time to prepare for the items’ distribution, which entailed a safety inspection among other red-tape processes.
The safety inspection proved frustrating, as it was deemed that the pitcher and mug sets would pose a fire hazard if fans set them in the aisles during the game. Also, there was a fear that rowdy folks may resort to throwing the items onto the field if the game got feisty (a legitimate concern, considering the rambunctious Cubs fans we are).
All of this pre-game analysis resulted in the decision to hand out the pitcher and mug sets after the game instead of before. This isn’t the first time this has happened. The difference is that in the past, vouchers were given to the first 10,000 people to enter the park so that they could pick up their promotional items after the game and still be rewarded for getting to the game early.
Why didn’t they hand out vouchers this time? Tom explained that because it’s early in the season, this is the first time the issue came up this year and they have a lot of new employees working the turnstiles. Implementing the voucher system requires “special training” that the new employees have not yet received. Because the pitcher and mug sets arrived so late, there was no time to properly train the employees to use the voucher system for this game.
Tom apologized several times on behalf of the Cubs management and admitted that the issue was mishandled. He made sure that my husband and I did indeed acquire the pitcher and mug sets in question (which we did, because we left in the middle of the sixth inning after they started vanishing). He also offered to greet my husband and me the next time we attend the ballpark and provide us with a super-cool Cubs Fan Pack.
I appreciated all this – I genuinely did. I told Tom that I honestly did not want to have to write that blog post, but I felt compelled to write it because I feared that my beloved Wrigley Field was changing. I explained that I’m a fourth-generation Cubs fan, my dad has season tickets, and that some of my fondest memories include going to Wrigley Field as a little girl. Heck, even the ringtone on my cell phone is “Go, Cubs, Go!” (Which Tom appreciated.)
All in all, I felt good about my conversation with Tom. It also caused me to reflect on just how complicated it must be to run an organization as large and multi-faceted as the Chicago Cubs. Things happen. Maybe I was a little too hard on them. Maybe I need to just be happy that I had the opportunity to see a baseball game at the best ballpark in the world.
Now that’s a good reason to break out that pitcher and mug set for a summer toast – after all, it’s the Crosstown Classic.