By DON GLYNN
Niagara Gazette — If you’re a sports fan looking forward to that next Buffalo Sabres game, you need to be extra careful where you buy tickets.
In case you haven’t heard, the scam artists are at work again, as evidenced by the ripoff from a guy who reportedly told a buyer he could pick up the four tickets Thursday at the will-call window at the First Niagara Center. They were to be left under the name of “Presley Elvis,” which should have raised eyebrows before the buyer handed over more than $150.
According to a WIVB report Saturday, at least four groups of fans fell for the scheme that was initially advertised on Craigslist. Obviously it’s a reminder how risky it is to purchase tickets from perfect strangers.
No doubt the scalpers (scam artists as well) will be out in full force on April, 2, when the Toronto Blue Jays host the Cleveland Indians in the already sold-out home opener at Rogers Centre (the former SkyDome). “The single-game tickets that went on sale to the general public Friday were gone within minutes,” said Stephen Brooks, the Jays’ senior vice president.
A club spokesman confirmed that some 2,500 tickets for the opener had been sold on Stubhub, a re-sale site. The cheapest seats ($14) were selling for $57 with the most expensive going for $1,620. The Blue Jays dislike the idea of fans paying such inflated prices but, as one official said, “it’s the unfortunate reality of the ticket world.” That’ s a comforting thought, eh?
For the record, interest in the Jays soared this year in the wake of strong trades that General Manager Alex Anthopoulos pulled off. Signs are that the total attendance in 2013 could reach the three million mark, matching the fan base in the early 1990s when the Jays won back-to-back World Series.
The sharp hike in ticket sales also has inspired the players. Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey, scheduled to pitch on opening day, said that it was now up to him and his teammates to perform on the field. The pitcher said it was exciting to be part of an organization that has so much excitement around it.
The Jays officials anticipate more fans from Western New York as a result of the new partnership with the Buffalo Bisons, the prime Triple-A franchise. Anthopoulos noted that fans interested in keeping tabs on players they watched at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo can see them just 82 miles away in Rogers Centre, when they move up to the major league,
A number of motorcoach companies in the Buffalo-Niagara area have already received inquiries from groups planning baseball excursions to Toronto. In the past, the New York Yankees were a key factor in boosting ticket sales but this year it appears the Jays might stand on their own.
REPORT READY: Just a reminder, the long-awaited draft scoping report for the northern section of the Robert Moses Parkway, the area between Main Street in Niagara Falls and the Village of Lewiston, will be available for the public to see Wednesday, from 3 to 7 p.m. in the Cataract Room at the Conference Center Niagara Falls, 101 Falls St. Project consultants will be present to answer any questions.
Copies of the report will also be available later at the Niagara Falls City Hall, at the libraries in the Falls, Lewiston and Youngstown and at regional parks administration building in the Niagara Falls State Park.
FACE THE FACTS: Overheard in Mom’s Coffee Shop, Military Road and Niagara Falls Boulevard: “She got her good looks from her father. He’s a plastic surgeon” — a know-it-all customer.
Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.