Ticket hoarders blamed for crash
October 23, 2007
DENVER ” The Colorado Rockies sold out all three World Series games at Coors Field on Tuesday, one day after their first attempt collapsed in a computer-system crash blamed on people trying to fool the system to hoard tickets.
The Rockies, which called had labeled the problem as an “external, malicious attack”, said they sold more than 50,000 tickets in the second round of ticket sales in about 2 1/2 hours.
“The online system, after a slow start, certainly worked very, very well for us,” club spokesman Jay Alves said.
He said the team was sorry that not all fans who wanted to go to the game were able to buy tickets but he said the team’s decision to sell tickets online was the fairest way to do that.
Bob Bowman, CEO of Major League Baseball’s Internet wing, said Tuesday that the system was overloaded Monday by powerful computers that were programmed to constantly generate five-digit codes that are meant to prove that an actual human is trying to buy tickets. Bowman said those computers were blocked from buying tickets on Monday but their attempts to connect weren’t discarded, allowing them to clog the system and ultimately knock it down.
Bowman said ticket brokers could have been responsible but he wasn’t sure whether trying to trick the computer system was a crime.
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“There are people who don’t want to play by the rules. Those are the people who create programs to bombard these sites,” Bowman said.
Irvine, Calif.-based Paciolan Inc., which operates the computer servers, didn’t return phone calls and e-mails seeking an explanation about what happened.
Alves said he was unaware of any criminal investigation into what happened Monday. The FBI did not immediately return a call from The Associated Press.
Across the street from Coors Field, Eduardo Casias had two laptop computers laid out on the back of his car, trying to buy tickets over the stadium’s wireless Internet connection.
His friend, Josh Bentley, was waiting outside the Coors Field ticket window in case the Rockies reversed themselves and began offering in-person sales.
Bentley said the online sale was unfair to local fans because it gave out-of-town buyers an equal chance at the tickets, especially if they had a fast Internet connection.
“They wanted to broaden it and get the whole world involved, and there’s probably people in Tokyo who are the only ones getting tickets,” he said.
Jerry McMorris a co-founder of the Rockies who sold his remaining interest in the team in 2005, stopped by the stadium ticket window to pick up tickets for three games for himself and his family.
“There obviously have been technical problems (with ticket sales). Paciolan has been a very good supplier for the Rockies and Major League Baseball,” McMorris said before leaving with a packet of tickets in his pocket.
Some would-be ticket buyers got computer-screen messages on Tuesday saying the Web site was experiencing heavy loads and were asked to wait for the server to become available, the same messages many fans got yesterday.
There were small differences visible: The page counted down two minutes before automatically refreshing, and users were told not to refresh the page themselves. On Monday, the countdown was a minute, and there was no warning against manually refreshing.
The Rockies originally planned to sell tickets at Coors Field and the team’s Dugout Stores in the Denver area as well as online.