Postseason baseball creates a great many things. It creates heroes. It creates goats. It creates memories. It creates disappointments. It also creates a fun Red Sox collectable. Phantom tickets.
Phantom tickets are ticket stubs to games that never happened. Those can occur during the regular season if there’s a rain out, for instance, that is never made up. But, it’s much more prevalent during the playoffs. Due to the nature of the bracket system, fans and teams don’t know when or where games will be played until very late in the process. If the Red Sox waited until they made it to the ALCS, for instance, before they printed up and sold the ALCS tickets, they’d run out of time. So, they have to be printed and distributed well in advance.
The problem with that is, of course, sometimes the Sox don’t then make it to the ALCS.
Enter the phantom ticket.
I’ve heard of people specializing in this type of collectable. As a baseball-wide type thing, I can see the appeal. It’s a unique collectable that has a curiosity aspect to it. Just about every team has one for any number of years. A potential checklist of items to add you your collection would be large, and ever-growing. The thrill of the chase would always be there.
As a team collectable, I can see the plusses and minuses. On the one hand, if a game isn’t played for a good reason, it might be fun to have a stub in your collection. I think it’d be neat to have the Red Sox World Series tickets for game six or seven of the 2004 World Series. It would be a constant reminder that the Sox swept the series, and therefore didn’t need those games. Or, tickets to the 2016 Wild Card game played in Fenway Park. Those would be a constant reminder that the Red Sox won the division this year, so didn’t need to play in the Wild Card Game.
But what about the other side of it? Not sure how I’d feel about having 2003 Red Sox World Series tickets sitting on my shelf. Talk about a never-ending kick in the gut. Or tickets to the 2011 playoffs. Or 2016 ALCS. Bleh.
I have often thought about going for phantom tickets from other teams. As the converse of the paragraph above, wouldn’t it be neat to have Yankees 2004 World Series tickets? Or 2007 Indians? That would be another fun reminder that those teams didn’t need those tickets because the Red Sox won the Series that year. Maybe a collection of game six tickets for the other AL teams that didn’t make the Series in 2013. That would make for a fun little display. Game six tickets with the Red Sox, Tigers, Rays, Indians, and A’s logos on them all framed up in a row. Maybe there are even tickets out there of AL teams that didn’t even make the playoffs. That could be a great item.
So, as with any great collectable, there are some options there for a fun addition to your Red Sox collection. The possibilities are almost endless.
Do you have any phantom ticket stubs?