I went to my first game at the new Yankee Stadium this week. Considering how much I love the Yankees, many of my friends have expressed surprised that I haven’t been to a game sooner.
Obviously, none of them have priced the cost of a baseball game in the last 20 or so years.
Frankly, if the tickets hadn’t been a gift (thank you), I never would’ve gone. As it turns out, I should’ve had a few bake sales to pay for the cost of everything else.
My mom and I sat in one of the upper decks in right field. I couldn’t see Nick Swisher below me. Curtis Granderson, playing center, weaved in and out of my field of vision. Balls and strikes were utterly impossible to discern.
Each ticket was $22. Which is a bargain compared to the seats behind home plate which run $1,600 per seat. Per game.
We went into the team store to look for shirts, the cheapest of which sold for more than my seat at $23. For a five-year-old. Sweatshirts were $65. Fortunately, we live in New York City and Marshall’s sells Yankee merchandise for a fraction of the cost, so we left.
Beer was $9.50. The combined cost of onion rings and french fries (which were terrible) was $15. A bottle of water was $5.
I counted 47 stadium advertisements from my seat. It was distracting, but I suppose it’s better than plastering the outside of the ballpark with ads like they do at Shea, pardon me, Citi Field.
It wasn’t always like this. When I was younger, our family went to Yankee games all the time, often with the neighbors and their families. We even had money left over to buy shirts and caps and baseball cards (I still have my Thurman Munson baseball bat), all of which seems totally out of reach for today’s middle class families.
My mom said they used to let you bring a cooler filled with food and drinks into the stadium. Now there are garbage cans next to the entry turnstiles so stadium officials can throw out confiscated water bottles. Cha-ching!
Back then, you could watch most of the games on free television. There is scant free programming now, though it’s hardly a problem for Yankee fans alone.
Monthly cable bills can easily top $100, and even then there’s no guarantee you’ll get the game you want to watch if it’s out of market. In that case, you have to shell out an additional $19.99 per month for the budget option of MLB.tv, which you get to watch on your computer.
Hopefully your home office chair is comfortable.
To be clear, I have no problem with athletes being compensated handsomely for their talent and hard work. It may look glamorous on the outside, but make no mistake, playing professional baseball takes tremendous commitment, perseverance and practice.
Even though contracts are typically guaranteed, an injury can end a career in a flash, which is what happened to my cousin who pitched for the Yankees many years ago. And players with bum knees don’t ink new deals.
Still, it shouldn’t cost more than $100 for two people to go to a baseball game, especially when you can’t really see the whole game because your seats are so far away.
I suppose there’s always AM radio. At least listening to those games is still free.