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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Barry Tompkins: When did opening day at the ballpark get so pricey?

And we have a new era in get off my lawning!

SO, ARE YOU going to the Giants’ home opener on Tuesday? If so, make sure you bring your suntan lotion, panda hat, scorecard and — if you must — that big sponge rubber orange finger declaring that the home team is No. 1. Oh, and one more thing: A bucket full of cash that numbers somewhere around the national debt.

This is not your father’s opening day, kids. This is baseball circa 2014, where the leaguewide average price for a family of four to attend a game is — here it comes — $208. Opening day, of course, is more expensive.

Of course that $208 takes in tickets, parking, a soft drink for the kiddos, a beer for you and the missus (to make you forget how much this junket is costing you), four hot dogs and a program.

I grew up on a stale bag of peanuts and a hot dog that had been soaking in the same water since the previous season. As kids, we further saved money on the monthly father and son nights when kids with their dad got in free. Usually I’d go with 10 of my closest friends and we’d pick up a “dad” at the turnstiles. “Are all those boys yours sir?” The poor sap would usually say yes just to bolster his ego as a prolific lover.

...Here’s my advice: If you want to go to a baseball game, go — enjoy. If you want fine dining, try Gary Danko’s.

If you can’t swing that, I think I have one bag of peanuts left from the 1957 San Francisco Seals closing game with the Portland Beavers. And I’ll throw in a dad.

Repoz Posted: April 05, 2014 at 09:29 PM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 05, 2014 at 09:57 PM (#4680143)
Just stay at home and watch the games on TV. Of course all tickets below the nosebleed sections are aimed at people with enormous amounts of disposable income, but you can watch any game in the Majors on the biggest TV you can find for less than 60 cents a day, and not waste your money on overpriced parking and concessions. It's kind of brutal if you're trying to introduce your kids to the ballpark experience, but that's not exactly making the owners lose much sleep.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 05, 2014 at 10:24 PM (#4680150)
We rarely ever bought anything at the stadium when I was a kid. I think maybe I would get a frosty malt. I always think that "average" price whre you buy beer, four hot dogs, a couple of beers, is disingenous. Sure, tickets are higher now, but you can still go to a Royals game for like $8 (plus $10 for parking), bring a bottle of water from home and your own bag of peanuts if you're so concerned about the escalating price of the game.
   3. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: April 05, 2014 at 10:53 PM (#4680154)
NFL prices blow away MLB prices. NFL also has more downtime between plays and incredibly charges fans full price for exhibition games, which is just incredible. No wonder why NFL attendance is down again.
   4. Chicken Stanley Has Smallpox Posted: April 05, 2014 at 11:04 PM (#4680158)
Oh, and one more thing: A bucket full of cash that numbers somewhere around the national debt.


Does it cost $17.5 trillion to go to baseball games now? Because I had not heard that. I suppose I'll have to cut back to 20 games a year or so, if I want to continue bathing in the river of gold that circumnavigates my 3.5 million-acre estate.
   5. CraigK Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:40 AM (#4680191)
It's kind of brutal if you're trying to introduce your kids to the ballpark experience, but that's not exactly making the owners lose much sleep.


Eh, if you're trying to do that, the minor leagues are 80% of the experience for 10% of the price.
   6. DL from MN Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4680226)
You can bring in food if you want. We usually do if the whole family goes.
   7. SoCalDemon Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4680230)
Don't go on opening day. I've never spent more than $20 to see a game (except one playoff game, which was still under $30). It helps that I am an A's fan, who were not a big draw at Angels stadium (despite generally being the Angels biggest competition for the better part of 15 years), I generally went on weekdays, and also usually biked to the stadium. When I wasn't going to see the A's, I'd go see them play basically anybody but the Dodgers, Rangers, Yankees, and Red Sox. I also would grab a beer or two before the game at a local bar or at the Noble brewery. Opening day is expensive, and any team playing the Yankees or Red Sox is going to be expensive. But if your goal is a day at the ballpark, it can be incredibly reasonable.

Though I've recently moved to Buffalo, and am looking forward to going to as many minor league games as I can fit in my schedule, for even less.
   8. JE (Jason) Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4680231)
You can bring in food if you want. We usually do if the whole family goes.

Is that true in all 30 ballparks?
   9. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4680235)
It's true at Fenway. As long as the food is wrapped up you're fine. I often bring a sandwich and a bottle of water to save a few bucks.
   10. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 06, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4680237)
No wonder why NFL attendance is down again.

According to the NFL attendance stats on ESPN:
Total Attendance
2013: 17304523
2012: 17178573

That's with one fewer game played in '13, I assume because they added another London game.
   11. BDC Posted: April 06, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4680259)
Most expensive thing about Arlington for me is the parking. When I occasionally walk to a day game it's still one of the cheaper entertainments in town.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: April 06, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4680401)
We rarely ever bought anything at the stadium when I was a kid. I think maybe I would get a frosty malt. I always think that "average" price whre you buy beer, four hot dogs, a couple of beers, is disingenous. Sure, tickets are higher now, but you can still go to a Royals game for like $8 (plus $10 for parking), bring a bottle of water from home and your own bag of peanuts if you're so concerned about the escalating price of the game.


Agreed. I've seen prices listed for St Louis that was utterly ridiculous, they seem to list the parking spot that is literally right next to the stadium.... go over one block and you reduce that price in half, and a vast majority of the people park a few blocks over...nobody but those who are fat and lazy or legitimately handicapped, pays more than $10 for parking in St Louis, yet it seems they list the price at $20, which is utterly ridiculous. Same with the other crap they include (two programs? why? two souvenirs? Really? Those who buy souvenirs at the park are making a conscience decision to spend more money on something, it's not a requirement, and it sure as heck isn't "average".

Is that true in all 30 ballparks?


I think it's true in almost every park. I think Houston outlaws that. I know the Cardinals try to do that every year and there is enough backlash that they change their minds immediately.
   13. SteveM. Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4680436)
I am legendary cheap (being a divorced professor with two kids will do that for you) and I have always been able to find affordable tickets and other expenses. When I took my son to see the Cubs play in Philly last summer, it was an adventure to try and find free parking but we did. The key was willingness to walk a mile or so. I eat either at home or before I get to the ballpark and I avoid $9 beers at the stadium. Baseball is still the most affordable of the 4 major sports in this country to go see. Try and find cheap NHL tickets.
   14. spycake Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4680443)
You can bring in food if you want. We usually do if the whole family goes.

Is that true in all 30 ballparks?


Food is acceptable at most, I think. Although I was denied entry into a Pirates spring training game in Bradenton a few years ago because I had an apple in my pocket.

Beverages are not often permitted. "Sealed, bottled water 32 oz. or less, and soft sided single juice or milk containers for children are the only outside beverages permitted into Target Field."
   15. spycake Posted: April 06, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4680444)
I think it's true in almost every park. I think Houston outlaws that. I know the Cardinals try to do that every year and there is enough backlash that they change their minds immediately.


"Guests are allowed to bring food and bottled water into Minute Maid Park for Houston Astros games.
Guests may bring in a factory-sealed, clear plastic bottle of water, no larger than one liter.
Guests may bring in food that is contained in a clear, plastic bag no larger than one gallon in size. One bag per guest."

So if you can cram that sub into a clear one-gallon bag, you're good to go!
   16. KingKaufman Posted: April 06, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4680476)
Not only does the NFL charge full price for exhibition games, they force you to buy the two exhibition games when you buy your 8-game season ticket package. So the advertised price of, say $100 per ticket is really $1000 for 8 games, or $125. I'm no mathematician but that's like a 25-percent increase. I can say from experience as a St. Louis Rams season ticket holders -- in the years when they were a good team -- that the street value of those exhibition tickets is $0. I was consistently unable to give them away. And I really tried. Again, these were the Kurt Warner-Marshall Faulk-greatest show on turf years.
   17. spycake Posted: April 06, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4680528)
King: you can donate preseason tickets and write off the face value as a charitable contribution! Tax deduction.

Although personally, I would feel a little bad about making some poor kid attend an NFL preseason game. (Fortunately, I don't itemize deductions, so it's a moot point.)
   18. Moeball Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4681499)
I save some $$ at Padres games by not paying for parking - I take the trolley to the game so that's at least $10-$20 saved right there.

You can bring food into Petco but I have seen times in the past (don't know if it's true this season or not)when they wouldn't allow bottled water in - was explained to me as they were literally afraid of people using them as weapons - I think more likely it was so they could charge you the exorbitant prices to buy the stuff at the stadium.

One of the great stories I heard about BITD was that apparently places like Wrigley and old Busch (going back a few decades at least)would let kids get a voucher for a free ticket to a game if they volunteered to help clean up after a game (do they have unionized janitors now? No idea but I can't see this type of thing happening today). At any rate - pay once for a ticket, get in to watch the game, stay and help clean up after, get another ticket for tomorrow's game. There were kids who literally went to a whole summer's worth of games at Wrigley who only had to pay for one ticket for the first game!
   19. Moeball Posted: April 07, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4681500)
I save some $$ at Padres games by not paying for parking - I take the trolley to the game so that's at least $10-$20 saved right there.

You can bring food into Petco but I have seen times in the past (don't know if it's true this season or not)when they wouldn't allow bottled water in - was explained to me as they were literally afraid of people using them as weapons - I think more likely it was so they could charge you the exorbitant prices to buy the stuff at the stadium.

One of the great stories I heard about BITD was that apparently places like Wrigley and old Busch (going back a few decades at least)would let kids get a voucher for a free ticket to a game if they volunteered to help clean up after a game (do they have unionized janitors now? No idea but I can't see this type of thing happening today). At any rate - pay once for a ticket, get in to watch the game, stay and help clean up after, get another ticket for tomorrow's game. There were kids who literally went to a whole summer's worth of games at Wrigley who only had to pay for one ticket for the first game!
   20. Eddo Posted: April 07, 2014 at 08:45 PM (#4681536)
Not only does the NFL charge full price for exhibition games, they force you to buy the two exhibition games when you buy your 8-game season ticket package. So the advertised price of, say $100 per ticket is really $1000 for 8 games, or $125. I'm no mathematician but that's like a 25-percent increase. I can say from experience as a St. Louis Rams season ticket holders -- in the years when they were a good team -- that the street value of those exhibition tickets is $0. I was consistently unable to give them away. And I really tried. Again, these were the Kurt Warner-Marshall Faulk-greatest show on turf years.

Honest question: if they were listed at $125 face value, with the two preseason games for free, would that change your opinion?

I ask this as a Bears season ticket holder who has had this conversation with his father many times. Our tickets are ~$80 face, but I would have no problem valuing a regular-season game at $100, so I don't really have a problem with the preseason games costing $80.
   21. theboyqueen Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4681593)
Why would someone buy water at a baseball game? Are there stadia without drinking fountains?

Going to a baseball game can be as cheap as going to a movie (I'm an A's fan, so maybe that helps). Because of BART I have never paid for parking at the Coliseum so I have no idea what it costs.
   22. Spivey Posted: April 07, 2014 at 11:27 PM (#4681601)
The new Busch Stadium has like 2 drinking fountains on the whole lower level. Walking to the other side of the stadium isn't exactly fun.

I have no problem buying beer at a baseball game, just like I would a bar.

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