Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yankees Season Ticket Department Screws Up Again, This Time, Worse

Who the heck is running the show inside the Yankees Season Ticket Office?

For the second time in two years, an email was sent to hundreds of Yankees season ticket holders, revealing personal information to strangers. The first time the Yankees revealed personal information, it was only email addresses... someone used CC (not Sabathia) instead of BCC, a major mass-email no-no that exposed the personal email addresses of hundreds of people (and potential spammers). This time, the Yankees employee went even further, attaching a handy dandy spreadsheet of names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers and email addresses-- and the seats they have in Yankee Stadium.

Deadspin first reported the details on the Yankees season ticket holders privacy breach yesterday afternoon. More than 20,000 people were affected, all in non-premium seating-- which means that once again, the Yankees management has screwed the true, blue collar fans and pampered the wealthy people who never show up to games and keep the seats around the infield empty for the majority of the year.

A call to Ken Cleary, Account Executive of Season Ticket Sales & Services, went unanswered Thursday morning. But his email to those affected (including me) indicated that "immediately upon learning of the accidental attachment of the internal spreadsheet, remedial measures were undertaken so as to assure that a similar incident could not happen again."

I assume that would mean the idiot who did this was fired? Maybe not. The original email came from Ken, the same person who later blamed "an employee."

Of course, the personal information was revealed on Monday. It took until Wednesday for the Yankees to send an apology and acknowledgment of the mistake. This is actually better response time than the last time... where they never apologized at all.

Also disturbing, the "recall message" we received shows that whoever sent the email has a huge gap of understanding when it comes to using email. Once an email is sent, you ain't getting it back, buddy. Perhaps the Yankees should use Google's "Mail Goggles."

The things one could do with this list is troubling. It goes beyond spam. Let's say you were wondering who the hot blonde was in Seat 24, Row 11, Section 235. The list could tell you that. Already, my cousin and I are joking about greeting all the people in our row by name next time we go to the stadium.

It's not inconceivable that an enterprising person who wanted to upgrade their seats for the following season could call up the people who held their desired seats, and find out whether they're re-upping for next season. If they're not, they could circumvent the Yankees and arrange to transfer the tickets.

And that's not even getting into other potential abuses. Con artists looking to scam people out of their credit cards could pretend to be Yankees reps, calling people on the list. After all, they know their seat numbers, account codes... it would sound legit to an unwary ticket holder.

Thanks a lot Yankees. It was bad enough you stuck us with a package involving multiple Royals and Orioles games, including two weekday 1:00 games. Now this.

UPDATE (May 2): Got a call back from Mario Oliveri, Yankees Season Ticket account executive. He assured me that the Yankees take this seriously, but repeated the company line that "no information was released that can't be found on Google." Except, you know, unlisted telephone numbers, those seat numbers, and the Yankees account number. He said that they've updated their security procedures, securing spreadsheet files, and making sure they ask additional information from those calling in, like "what credit card did you use to make your purchase?" When I pointed out that a scammer could ask the same thing, Mario said that everybody is aware of the situation, so they're less likely to fall for a scam.

I was hoping they'd offer something, anything, to make up for their sloppy security and revealing information that people would rather not have distributed to thousands of others. A Yankees seat cushion? A free pen? But it seems the Yanks are content to ride this one out, and if they lose a customer or two, they're not too worried about it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Forget The Motorcades... Hit The Used Car Lot

This is the stuff disaster movies are made of. Widespread gridlock clogging every one of New York's arterial streets. Crowds of restless citizens, held back by barricades and anxious cops. Sirens and car horns drowning out the constant city hum, and red and blue strobes lined up like signal fires across the width of Manhattan.

But it wasn't aliens or genetically engineered monsters or even supercyclones powered by global warming that ground the city to a halt tonight.

It was President Obama's motorcade.

My girlfriend and I were walking back to my apartment from dinner, noting how strangely empty third avenue was for the time of night-- and how strangely busy the side streets seemed to be. When we reached 42nd street, we came upon a crowd of people gathered at the street corner, waiting to cross, delayed by heavy police presence.

"What's going on?" we asked.

"Obama's in town for a fundraiser," we were told. His motorcade would be coming by is about 15 minutes. Until it passed and the all clear was given, no one was allowed to cross 42nd street, by car, by bicycle, or on foot.

"How much of 42nd street is closed?"

"All of it. Across the whole island."

Obama eventually came through, in one of two limos, in a parade of town cars, police cruisers, heavy duty trucks, unmarked white vans, ambulances, and a partridge in a pear tree. After the nearly 30 vehicles finally passed, we waited about five more minutes and were finally set free. The Manhattan traffic and assorted food delivery men on bikes were released shortly afterward, but the build up of stopped vehicles for the past hour resulted in a near citywide traffic jam. On the walk home, we witnessed at least two near-accidents.

The hubbub this week has surrounded Obama's birth certificate-- but that's not really an issue that affects anyone. What does affect us is the government budget... A portion of which is devoted to security for government personnel.

Given the events of tonight, which are typical of presidential excursions since the Kennedy assassination, I got to thinking... Isn't this one of the worst, most expensive, most disruptive ways to keep our President safe?

My girlfriend and I had no idea, before running into the madness on 42nd street, that Obama was in town. I'm guessing that your typical terrorist wouldn't either. But by closing off 42nd street to vehicular traffic and lining it with parade barricades-- even informing pedestrians when they could expect the motorcade to come by-- the NYPD and Secret Service basically laid out a well-defined route where the President would be. They basically surrounded the President with flashing lights and flags and held up a sign: "Here He Is!!!"

If I were president, I'd cancel the security theater (Presidents haven't had good luck in theaters.. Or motorcades.)

The best way to keep a President safe is to put him in a '95 Honda Accord.

I know, I know. Buy American. But that's exactly what the terrorists would suspect!

In all seriousness, put the President in an old, nondescript, uninteresting car that no one would look twice at. You still want security, so put the guards in a Mercury Sable station wagon and support personnel in a  Plymouth Caravan. Without all the lights and fanfare attracting attention, you wouldn't need nearly as many vehicles or police presence. No one would know that the President was the guy in the Accord. Especially if he's driving and wearing a Mets cap.

Frankly, it would cost less money, cause less disruption, and make it less likely a crazy assassin could figure out where the President is. Is he in the Accord? Or the '99 Chrysler Sebring?

That's a good deal!

(not the convertible version. Presidents don't have the best of luck in convertibles.)

Consider it, Obama. With this budget thing, every cent counts. And as cool as a motorcade makes you look, it just causes headaches for everyone else.
The Legend of Sam Fuld Continues...

This note, on Yahoo! today:

Apr 26 OF Sam Fuld, already one of the biggest surprises in the majors, got a surprise of his own Tuesday, as he was included on the All-Star ballot. The Rays were able to add Fuld and shift Johnny Damon to the DH position after the April 8 retirement of Manny Ramirez.

Let's get voting, people! Sam Fuld! Sam Fuld! Sam Fuld! You can vote up to 25 times.

(You can All-Star vote for superjews Ike Davis, Kevin Youkilis, Ian Kinsler, and Ryan Braun too.)

Going into Week 4 of the season, the Major League Jews are in 5th place at 11-9, 2 games back from the leader. Recent additions to the squad include Padres ace Mat Latos, Cubs K-artist Matt Garza, and Marlins lead-off man Chris Coghlan. Not a bar mitzvah in the bunch, but a guy's gotta fill a roster somehow.

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