The Baltimore Orioles say they are working feverishly to correct a problem that some fans find irritating: finding their seats, then finding somebody else sitting in them.
About 470 tickets were double-sold for Monday's final Opening Day at Memorial Stadium, Bob Aylward, Orioles vice president for business, reported yesterday. Most of the displaced fans were moved to "comparable or better" seats, according to Aylward. A small number -- "in the teens" -- received refunds and were invited to another game as guests of the team.
The Orioles expect to have all but solved the ticket problem for tonight's game against the Chicago White Sox at Memorial Stadium.
"We're confident we have found the locations at issue," Aylward said. "We can't say categorically it won't happen again. But we have a lot of people working with Ticketron to make sure it doesn't."
The Opening Day error is the latest in a lengthy list of mistakes having to do with selling and distributing Orioles tickets. Through the winter, team officials have been trying to get an accurate count of their season-tickets sales. They still aren't certain how many have been sold.
On Saturday, team officials discovered that there were 1,100 unsold tickets for Opening Day, though they'd been telling fans since February that the final opener at Memorial Stadium was a sellout.
Then, and yesterday, Orioles officials attributed their problems to changing from TicketCenter to Ticketron and computer foul-ups that followed.
Bill Glover had a firsthand look at the Opening Day confusion. Glover, who lives in Parkville, had seats in Section 33 on the first-base foul line. So did another couple who had tickets printed with the same section, row and seat numbers.
The dispute was resolved quickly by a stadium supervisor. "He took my tickets, took the other couple's tickets and went back to the office," Glover said. "When he came back, he told us our tickets were fine. The other couple was moved, I don't know to what section."
Glover said he noticed only one fan who became "upset" by the mix-up. And he credited stadium workers with keeping heads cool. "The ushers were being as nice and polite as they could be about it," he said.
The duplicate tickets were in two categories. About 350 were discovered before Opening Day, according to Aylward. He said ushers were ready to move fans in those seats to other locations which were empty because ticket holders hadn't showed up.
The Orioles didn't know about another 100 to 120 seats that inadvertently had been sold twice, but Aylward said most of those fans also had been seated about an hour into the game.