Friday, April 3, 2009


Today's SDSU/Padres doubleheader at Petco can be seen with a ticket ranging from $16-$36.  If you're going to stay for both games, I guess $16 isn't bad.  But I've never felt that baseball was a game you could charge a high price to attend.  It's just way too random.  

I remember vividly the last time I overpaid for tickets.  It was also my one and only ticket bought from a scalper.  Mitzi and I went to Dodger Stadium on July 13th, 1996 to see Hideo Nomo during Nomo-mania.  The Dodgers were facing the Giants, and a rookie left-hander was on the mound for SF.  This was as near of a sure-thing as you had in baseball.  We paid $20 for $8 bleacher seats, and proceeded to watch Nomo and the Dodgers get shut out by Shawn Estes and the Giants 7-0.  The team played horribly.  Looking back at that boxscore (click through the link above), MAN what a nondescript Dodgers team that was!  Chad Fonville, Greg Gagne, Tom Prince and friends couldn't handle Estes, who whiffed 11 in one of the best starts (as it turned out) of his career.  The highlight of the night was the Popeye's Chicken that we brought with us, and the hilarious sight of Antonio Osuna trying (and failing miserably) to work on throwing a changeup in the LA bullpen.  He couldn't get the grip right and every once in a while he would just throw it off the bullpen gate.  At Dodger Stadium that's a big metal gate, so while people were just snoozing in left field or bouncing the beach ball, every once in a while there would be a loud BANG! and sure enough it was Osuna trying to throw the change again.  

What is the point of this little eddy of baseball fun?  You NEVER can predict a great baseball game.  Sometimes the game just stinks.  Sometimes the home team gets shut out on four hits by somebody you've never heard of, somebody who doesn't turn into a Hall-of-Famer, just a journeyman.  Sometimes they kick the ball around and get picked off first.  Even the very best teams have these games.  

So that's why baseball HAS to be the most affordable major league sport, by far.  You've just got to be able to go to a game on the cheap, walk up and buy a bleacher seat for $8, sit in the stands and laugh at the names of the players.  This town has had enough bad baseball to know this.  It's finally taken the economic depression, combined with the local malaise, for that connection to be made.  

The Padres will have more of those clunker-type games, many more, than some other clubs this year.  At least they have recognized this.  When you see their promotional commercials now, it's VALUE VALUE VALUE!  Smiling Octomom look-alike woman holding up all her calorie babies: popcorn, pretzel and cookie YAY!  $5 for 5!  Value weekends!  

Value parking?  Yeah, good luck with that one.

But if the team is going to be a non-contender with little to root for, at least you can give people pretzels and cookies and a nice night at the ballpark.  That's connecting with a fanbase that has little money and little interest.  

When I see the new Yankee Stadium and the Mets' new ballpark, and the AVERAGE price for a seat to see a Yankees game is now over $70...that's a complete disconnect.  From the Washington Post:

Opening now, with ticket prices up to $2,625 for the Yankees and $695 for the Mets _ yes, that's a single game _ they may seem out of step with a suddenly and sharply more restrained era. But coming near the end of a ballpark boom that began with Baltimore's Camden Yards in 1992, they mark a defining moment for a sport ever caught between trying to keep modern while reverentially retooling its past.

Wow.  That must have made a lot of sense 3 years ago, right after all the folks in the boardrooms laughed about how they were dragging in money hand-over-fist with Credit Default Swaps and chanted together: there is no housing bubble!  Now, how does $2,695 for a seat sound?  For a 9-inning baseball game?  At this point just make every seat $500 and have chocolate run out of the water fountains.  Gild the plastic silverware with gold.  

Who's going to fill that $2,000+ per game inner ring at Yankee Stadium?  I thought that was supposed to be all the Wall Street fatcats...are we going to be seeing bailout money on display behind home plate?  AIG bonuses converted smoothly into popcorn, peanuts, Cracker Jack?

I've never rooted for the Yankees, and I never could.  But now, their very home no longer smacks of tradition, history, championships.  It's money, money, money.  It's garish.  Gross.  Hey look at us, anyone in here's got to be golden, because we can throw down $500+ to just go see a major league ballgame!  What, are you jealous of our success?  The Apprentice theme is going to be piped in through the bathroom walls.  

Here's to many a night of profits flushed, and some sap plunking down $975 to a scalper so he and his lady can eat a Gray's Papaya they smuggled in while watching A.J. Burnett walk six Orioles.  The O's can win 7-0, and maybe someone can watch through their monocle as Edwar Ramirez works on his changeup.


  1. Well said.

    However I disagree with the notion that paying $20 bucks for a bleacher seat to watch Greg Gagne "with a spoon" field his position is money poorly spent!

    Here's to Yankee fans being terribly disappointed for paying so much money and failing to win the AL East again....(and here's to less nicknames from Chris Berman)

  2. I remember that Dodger game. I have no idea what we were thinking then: two poor undergrad students buying tickets from a scalper with their Popeye chicken in tow, only to see the Dodgers lose. And I remember having this superstition, that no matter what the score is, as long as Osuna steps on the mound, the Dodgers will lose.

    Good times....good times.

  3. I actually managed to see the Aztecs game today for $5. It wasn't advertised, but the ballpark was "open seating" today for the Aztecs game, meaning all field level seats were fair game......of course, if you wanted to stay for the Padres (which I really didn't--one baseball game in a day is more than enough for me!) you would've had to move to the bleacher/park seats, but not bad for $5!

    Oh, and speaking of the Aztecs at Petco Park: Maybe the Aztecs should move to Petco full time, and the Padres should move to T.G. Stadium? The Aztecs hit better today (including 3 HR's!) than the Padres have ever even THOUGHT of hitting in their home park! Maybe they'd do better up on The Mesa???