At the Broncos game last night they had one of those "Mascot v. kids" competitions to kill the minutes of half-time. They went through and introduced various mascots from the NFL and around the Denver area. When they announced Dinger from the Rockies, the crowd at Mile High went nuts. Bethany made a comment that the excitement for a mascot shows you how crazy Denver is about the Rockies. The electricity buzzing up here in Colorado has been amazing over the last week, and the Rockies stockpiled so much good will that they could do no wrong. Unfortunately their management managed to screw everything up with this World Series ticket debacle.
I don’t really blame the Rockies for having web site troubles. I’m all-too familiar with capacity issues with web applications. The writing was on the wall and I was expecting the ticket site to get slammed. Their actions leading up to the situation are questionable and how they’ve reacted to it has been inexcusable.
First and foremost: what do you expect when you go with a small company to save you money, you’re going to get what you pay for. When the Rockies announced they were taking sales exclusively on-line, it was easy to see this coming. I hate Ticketcrapster, and they are definitely the Evil Empire with their fees, but I give them this: they’ve never had capacity issues in recent history. I’m not familiar with Paciolan, and although they say they sell tickets to 200 markets they obviously dropped the ball on World Series Ticket forecasting. I’m not familiar with their infrastructure, but from what I could tell they didn’t have nearly the capacity to handle the hits they received. With good planning it should have been easy for them to increase capacity ahead of time, but someone screwed up. Now they have a black eye and have probably lost their MLB contracts.
Which leads me to how they’ve reacted… As the day moved on, the latest excuse has been that we were a victim of malicious attack. Can anyone hear that sound? It’s the "Baaaa" of a SCAPEGOAT. While a DOS attack is always possible, this wasn’t the situation. Everyone was looking to buy World Series tickets and were pointing every computer and browser they own right at the site. The symptoms may be the same as DOS – you’re site’s down – but this is far from an attack. I won’t subscribe to the notion that this was some pissed Bo-Sox, Diamondback or Padre fan pissed at the Rockies. Give me a break, this reeks of a capacity issue.
Rockies management isn’t responsible for the technological issues, but they were definitely caught with their pants down and don’t have an excuse for their behavior during and after the incident. How could you not go into this scenario without "Plan B"? It’s called risk-management – web site down and the best solution they had was to hide in their Coors Field compound. When they finally suspended ordering they offered no details or no ETA for a fix. They simply stated they hoped to be back soon. People had no choice but to continue to fire their browsers at the site.
We finally get word that Rockies management will emerge and announce their next steps at 4pm. 4pm turned into 5pm, then 5pm turned into 6pm. They finally manage to come out right before 6:30 and simply say "We’re sorry, we have nothing and we don’t know when we’ll be up." Then they have the gall to get defensive with the media, as if they couldn’t understand why people would be upset with a 2-sentence update.
Finally they put their heads together and came up with their master plan: do the same thing on Tuesday. Good thing they made up – I mean – discovered the "malicious attack" excuse and are assuring everyone that Tuesday will be ok. Oh and that Plan B? Still missing… Tuesday’s going to be interesting to say the least.
I don’t hold the Rockies team & players responsible (and still stand by my apology), but I do have to admit that I’ve lost a little bit of excitement. Rockies management has put a bitter taste in my mouth with this whole situation. The Rockies players have done the unbelievable – won 21 of 22 game to get into the World Series – while their management has done the unthinkable: piss away all of the good will through their incompetence.