[Editor’s Note: This is one of the few baseball posts NOT written by our resident expert baseball addict Kosmo. I’m going to try my best to live up to the high standards he sets.]
Several years ago, when my wife and I lived out in California, we went to our first Minor League Baseball game. It was a Modesto Nuts game that was part of some work deal*. The experience made my list of one of the best ways to Save Money at Baseball Games.
Last Friday, I went to my second minor league game… our local (Rhode Island) Pawtucket Red Sox playing some Louisville Bats**.
At the time, I noted that just going to a baseball game is great if you are a fan. The grass, the organ, the food… it’s just a great atmosphere. It isn’t obvious, but Minor League Baseball has a few advantages over Major League Baseball. There are more creative promotions. At the Modesto Nuts game, they had something every inning. (My favorite was the inning of Dollar Drafts.)
Another advantage is that it is extraordinary family friendly. I’ve only been to two Minor League games, but I didn’t find a single drunk, surly guy, heckling a 20 year old kid. This is in sharp contrast to the bleachers Fenway during Red Sox/Yankees games where I always learn a few new slang words.
Finally, there’s the obvious advantage Minor League Baseball… it’s much cheaper. Tickets are cheaper. Beer is cheaper. (The food unfortunately, was not much cheaper this time unlike the Modesto game.) Parking is cheaper. Souvenirs are cheaper.
There’s a trade-off to minor league baseball obviously. You don’t get to see the top stars. Also, if you follow the major league team, as most fans do, you probably don’t care about the results of the minor league game. You probably want the affiliate of your major league club to win, but it can be more about following the players.
The promotion last Friday was enough to get us to bring the kids to the park. With a 2 and a 3 year old, you never know what their attention span is going to be, especially for something that typically requires sitting in place for 3 hours in the evening.
The price of the tickets were $12 (a dollar off for Tom Brady) for a box seat. We got 4. So the best seats for a family of four run around $50 total. I think the face value on some of the Boston Red Sox tickets go between $140-175 for face value alone for these seats… and that’s just a single seat. Tickets alone for the family of four can easily run $400 or $500. (It doesn’t help that they are some of the most expensive tickets in baseball.)
Parking cost us $10, but I see that parking at Fenway is “$40+.” The concessions were probably not much of a discount, but still a little cheaper. We didn’t by any souvenirs… a blessing of having the oldest be only 3. I wouldn’t have said it was a cheap evening, but it could have been much worse. (If we planned to eat before, it also could have been much better.)
As for the event itself there were three things of note besides the game (the PawSox scored a lot early and coasted to an easy win):
- Great Promotions – Just like the Modesto Nuts, there was a promotion nearly every inning. My favorite was this Hurl the Pearl game for charity. If we had time before the games starts, we’ll look to do that next time.
- Linda the Usher – We had the best usher in the history of mankind. I hadn’t seen someone rock her job in such a long time. It seems somewhat of a local celebrity for her ushering skills. I learned that even mundane-looking jobs can be made exciting.
- Talked with an Important Executive – Around the 7th inning an important-looking person in a suit came by with Linda. I think he was intrigued that our 2 and 3 year olds where still having a great time that late. I immediately noticed his World Series ring and figured he was a top guy. We talked for about 5 minutes about the promotion. I learned that the competing Buffalo Bison promotion was politely discussed with the PawSox and approved because it was all in good fun and it went to help charity.
Later on, I looked up who it was and it was Dr. Charles Steinberg, the President of the PawSox! That kind of stuff simply doesn’t happen at the Major League level.
We’re already looking forward to our next game.
* Interesting fact: I always associated the Modesto team with the Oakland A’s. They were called the Modesto A’s and were the minor league team for years. It wasn’t until I started to write this story that I realized they had been affiliated with the Colorado Rockies for more than 10 years, including the time that I saw them.
** Interesting fact 2: The Louisville Bats use the mammal as the core logo, which may be unexpected considering they are known for the bats are used to hit baseballs. Good pun, but on this particular night, they played like they were relying on their sonar a little too much.