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  • Bill Chastain

Standing Room Only

Time to dispel an old belief: Sports writers are not the guys to ask for good seats.

Friends and acquaintances have forever asked me about tickets to games, but truthfully, I never knew my capabilities in that area until a Cardinals-Braves game in 1992.

In the 1970s while attending Georgia Tech, I could buy a $3 ticket to sit in the outfield of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and by the end of the game I could be sharing a chew of Red Man with Ted Turner in his box next to the Braves’ dugout. If you had a big party that needed to buy tickets, the old joke applied where the guy asked the Braves’ ticket manager if he could buy 30 tickets to a game. After the guy is told he could be accommodated, he asked the ticket manager what time the game started. The ticket manager replied: “What time’s good for you?”

However, once winning became the norm at the “Chop Shop,” procuring Braves tickets became a trying endeavor.

Working some connections, I got tickets for some friends and me to the above-mentioned Cardinals-Braves series in Atlanta. Thus, my group of five would be sitting pretty, right?

Wrong. My connections landed us in center-field seats for the Friday night game.

84px-Bob_Uecker_2011_CROP “Right down in the front row.”

Quickly I became “Ueck,” short for Bob Uecker of Miller Lite fame. If I only had a nickel for every time I heard “right down in the front row” or “he missed the call” followed by hysterical laughter.

I persevered, though I might not have had I known what was in store for Saturday night’s game.

Miller_Park’s_Uecker_Seats Present day “Uecker Seats” at Miller Park

After picking up Saturday night’s tickets, a quick examination of their location sent my heart reeling. These tickets didn’t say clubhouse level, box seat, reserved, or even general admission. Printed across the front were the saddest three words in a spectator’s vocabulary: “Standing Room Only.”

A debate on whether we should just go to some sports bar to watch followed before we grudgingly headed for the grave yard known as “SRO.”

We pa