Scalper greed freezes out free Fenway ice skating

Eager Bostonians were supposed to ice skate for free in the sacred confines of Fenway Park. But thanks to scalpers, many will be left out in the cold.

An out-of-the-goodness-of-its-heart city plan to distribute complimentary tickets to skate on a hockey rink erected at the venerable baseball stadium turned ugly when profiteering goons muscled in. Some who secured tickets distributed in public giveaways on Saturday began selling them for as much as $500 apiece on Ebay, Craigslist and other sites, the Boston Globe says in a story Tuesday.

The city is outraged, demanding to know who would so such a thing, especially in a season that is supposed to be about giving. Kids are crushed, many of whom were hoping to visit Fenway for the first time because Red Sox games are often sold out and tickets are expensive. "It might be their only chance to be there," Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, lamented in the article.

The blades of greed sharpened online. One scalper advertised four tickets for $1,800. "No sob stories please," the posting said, according to the paper. Another asked $500 for one ticket, signing off with "Good luck and happy holidays."

City residents were to pick up the tickets at libraries and schools on a first-come basis, but known scalpers appeared in line from the get-go, residents complained in the article.

Tim Theriault, 53, called the scalpers' actions "disgusting" after all 200 tickets at the Boston Public Library disappeared before he could get any. Bill Zeoli came up empty-handed after he waited for two hours at a school in the South End and an additional two hours in Chinatown.

Jan. 3 and Jan. 10 were reserved for the free skating, after the NHL's annual outdoor Winter Classic Game, between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers, was to be played on New Year's Day before an expected crowd of 38,000 at Fenway. Those tickets began climbing toward $700 apiece on websites, the Globe said, but that's to be expected.

But turning free tickets into a scalpers' free-for-all takes Scrooge-like avarice to a whole new level. Wish we could send them all to the penalty box.
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