Parquet Wishes and Leprechaun Dreams

Friday, October 19, 2007

Worst. Preseason Game. Ever.

Man, talk about your major-league debacles ...

I've just returned from tonight's preseason game against the New Jersey Nets in Worcester (MA), and let me tell you - it was their first appearance in the city in seven-odd years, and I wouldn't be surprised if they never came back.

Things started out well enough - the crowd was into the action, Garnett was dunking, Ray Allen was hitting threes, it was great ... However, as the game progressed, it seemed as if the floor was being mopped up after every stoppage of play.

Now, you usually see the floor crew make an appearance every now and then during a regular game, just to clean up any wet spots caused by sweat from all the large bodies hitting the floor; that's perfectly normal ... however, it was getting to the point where it was just happening over and over and over; this was definitely a sign that something was amiss.

For those who don't know, the DCU Center is home to a minor-league hockey team ( during this time of year, which means that there is a layer of ice underneath the floorboards (just like when the Bruins play at the Garden) ... if the floor is not properly secured, then condensation can build up and cause things to get slippery (and a little dangerous).

Sure enough, that's what happened tonight, as - a few minutes before the second half was supposed to begin - the PA announcer came on and informed us that both teams and the referees were in agreement that it would be in the best interests of the players' safety if the game was cancelled.

As you can imagine, this didn't sit well with the crowd ... the announcer then tried to placate us by claiming that the Celtics would have an impromptu autograph signing on the court within the next ten minutes, and that we should all "wait for further instructions".

Now, I personally wouldn't count that as a fair trade-off when I payed full price to see a two-quarter game, and it certainly seemed as if the majority of the crowd agreed with me (as chants of "Bullshit" and "Refund!" echoed through the arena) ... However, things didn't seem to be escalating to any great degree, and many people were simply sticking around to try and salvage the night by meeting some of the players.

Seriously, does it look like we need to call in the SWAT team to get things under control?

Of course, there were a few people being a tad over-zealous, and the PA announcer had to remind people several times to stay off the court (even though that was clearly where the tables were being set up for the players to sign autographs) ... Now, while I personally couldn't see them, my brother said that the players were sitting at the tables waiting for the arena security team to get the crowd in some kind of order. And it did look like the people (aside from the booing) were behaving themselves; the only "rowdiness" that I could see was when Lucky the mascot was using the T-shirt cannon - yeah, because a free t-shirt totally makes up for everything - and people were actually throwing the shirts back onto the court (which I personally found to be quite humorous).

A look at where the players were supposed to be signing autographs
(notice the seats are empty)

However, with things still in a confused state, the players eventually disappeared back into the locker room (although Doc Rivers was nice enough to hang around and take pictures until the very end), and everyone was just kind of standing around waiting for these "further instructions" to materialize ... Instead, the PA announcer informs us that the building is now closing and we must all exit the premises immediately.

Security roping off the court

Just like that. Out of the blue. Boom, no autographs, no second half, no nothing.

And need I mention that it was raining heavily outside?

Not only that, but the DCU Center (apparently due to some boos and a few returned t-shirts) had called in the riot squad ... Seriously, there were at least a dozen cop cars outside (and like I said, things were far from the point where they had to break out the tear gas to restore order or anything like that). I guess someone thought that a sport with a largely African-American fan base was a powderkeg just waiting to explode, I dunno.

I couldn't get a good shot of all the cop cars because of the rain, but trust me -
there were a lot (and it actually made the traffic worse than if no police were around)

In any event, this whole thing just puts Worcester in a bad light ... not only were the players' health being put in danger because the local arena couldn't set up a basketball court correctly, but things were nearly pushed to the brink of chaos by how badly the situation was handled afterwards (don't tease us into thinking there's going to be an autograph signing, only to have the building cleared out and have us wait out in the rain).

I feel sorry for anyone who made the trip into the city from Boston or Connecticut or what have you, just to have the entire night be a complete waste ...

UPDATE: The Celtics have posted refund information on their official website (

For fans who purchased tickets to the preseason game in Worcester on October 19, the Celtics apologize for the cancellation of the game at halftime and invite fans to take advantage of one of two refund or exchange options:

1. Refund - to receive a refund on tickets purchased at the DCU Center, please visit the DCU Center Box Office between Wednesday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 31. If you purchased online or over the phone, please send your tickets (must be postmarked by October 31) along with your name, mailing address, phone number, and email address to:

Ticketmaster Boston
Attn: Celtics Preseason
1320 Centre St.
Suite 301
Newton Center, MA 02459

2. Discount Offer - you also have the option of exchanging your October 19 tickets for a discount on tickets to a future Celtics home game during the 2007-08 season. To choose this option, please send your tickets along with your name, mailing address, phone number, email address to:

Boston Celtics
Attn: Worcester Exchange
226 Causeway St.
Boston, MA 02114

Upon receipt of your tickets, the Celtics will email you with information on your choice of games. All games and discounts are subject to availability.

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