Bluenatic Exclusive: Tailgating Prohibited at Giants PSL-Holder Open House

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 |

Those of you fellow Bluenatics who might have been planning to make a day out of the forthcoming seat-viewing/open house at the still unnamed new Giants Stadium by partaking in a rare offseason tailgate will no doubt be disappointed to learn that your attempts at grilling glory will be thwarted.

I called Giants Stadium LLC yesterday afternoon to ask about tailgating at the event and was told by the nice fellow who took my call that I was the first person to make this inquiry. "That's a good question," the fellow said. He then told me that a superior would need to be consulted before an answer could be provided. So I gave the guy my name and cell number and 20 minutes later he called back to let me in on the disappointing news. Sorry, Giants fans, but no tailgating will be permitted in the lots before, during or after the open houses scheduled for April 24th and 25th. Rats.

It's a good thing I called, I guess. If I really was the first to formally inquire about the Giants tailgating policy for this event, then I can only assume that many fans are operating under the reasonable assumption that tailgating will be allowed and that they'll show up with their grills and coolers and beat-up camping chairs ready to get down, easy like Sunday morning.

The Giants, I'm sad to report, seem ill-prepared for this eventuality. Their decision to prohibit tailgating also leads me to believe that they're lacking the kind of intuition that would help them better understand and serve their fanbase, which co-owner and team president John Mara recently referred to as “the most loyal in all of sports."

That kind of loyalty is a great benefit to Mara and the Giants, because a less loyal, less patient fanbase might take issue with having to wait until two weeks after their new facility hosts its first event (a college lacrosse game between Hofstra and Delaware, of all things) before getting an in-person look at the seats they just shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for the right to purchase. Seats that will cost significantly more than the ones they just vacated.

The Giants shouldn't take that kind of loyalty for granted, either. After all, it was only last week that they finally announced that they'd sold all of the non-club level PSLs in the new building. This obviously took them longer than they'd anticipated, their fans being so loyal. And all they had to do was run through the entirety of their legendary waiting list to sell them. 133,000-plus names, according to some reports.

But even the most loyal of fans want to be treated like the team they've invested their hearts and savings in is attuned to their needs. And while it's true that tailgates don't help win football games and that, it can be reasonably argued, they decrease concessions and therefore hurt the team's bottom line, they have become such a vital component of the gameday experience that in some ways they've surpassed the game itself. Because it's at the tailgate where friends and family members gather to renew and enliven their relationships. It's at the tailgate where we schmooze over grilled meats, cold beers and thrown footballs to re-connect in a way we never could inside a roaring stadium, over a telephone or in our homes at holiday time amidst a million distractions. The tailgate, friends, is our escape. It's a stress-free, drama-free zone. The tailgate offers us a chance to collectively exhale, if only for a few hours.

When the team announced about two weeks ago that they’d be holding this exclusive seat-viewing/open house for their PSL holders on April 24th & 25th, I got excited. Sure, I’ve had my reservations about the new facility, but after seeing video of the demolition of my “old treehouse” and terrific images of my shiny new one, I began to prepare myself, mentally and emotionally, for the transition. And when my old friend Mosty suggested a tailgate, I took it as a stroke of pure inspiration. After all, what better way to embrace our new beginning at the Meadowlands than through the ritual of the tailgate? What better way to honor the legacy of the old building (most of which remains standing) that held so many great memories than by grilling one last rack of succulent ribs in its still formidable shadow?

And what would it take, really, for the Giants to grant us that wish? A few extra security guards? A permit of some sort? Some maintenance people? A bunch of porta-potties? Is that so much to ask?

Those of you who've visited this blog regularly since its inception more than 3 years ago or who know me personally are aware of the lengths I am usually willing to go to defend the Giants organization. I offer no apologies about being a homer and I never pretend to be an objective observer of happenings in the Giants universe. If anything, this blog has existed simply as a means for me to express my fawning adulation for my childhood heroes and their blue-jerseyed brethren. So when the Giants disappoint me on the field, I can accept it. That's part of the unwritten fan contract we all sign before we're wise enough to know better. We agree to accept X amount of heartbreak in return for the promise of an ultimate measure of redemption, though both parties acknowledge that restrictions apply. In that regard, Giants fans of my vintage have been most fortunate.

But when the Giants disappoint me like this it's different, though I fully concede that I'm probably overreacting. In the grand scheme of things, one tailgate doesn't mean all that much. Still, this decision by the Giants brass seems short-sighted at best, dunderheaded at worst. The good thing is they've got 25 days to make it right, to recognize that this is not a time to be saying "no" to their loyal fans. 2010 offers us all a chance for a fresh new beginning, so I implore the Giants to reconsider and greenlight the grilling.

Can I interest you in some bacon-wrapped shrimp, Mr. Mara? The secret of the tailgate is that they taste like victory loyalty.

4/1 Update - Giants VP of Communications Pat Hanlon responds via Twitter: "Bluenatic, once we're in the bldg and Giants Stadium is down, parking lots are up, etc, you can grill til heart's content...thanks"


The Deep Fryer Depot said...

I am glad to hear that in the end grilling will be to your hearts content. I've heart rumors of only allowing 3 1\2 hours to tailgate before games? This is supposedly to cut down on unruly drunkenness.If you ask me... 3 1\2 hours is enough time for burgers & dogs. Now what kind of respectable tailgater would concede to that?????!!!!!

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