For the first time in over a decade, I watched a ball game from the stands. Now that I don’t spend my time in the press box, it seemed like something a semi-retired bloke should do,
I made a few discoveries, or re-discoveries:
1. It is expensive. My kid brother Chris and his wife CA were coming down from upstate and invited me to the Mets-Yankee game Sunday night at the stadium I prefer to call New Shea (what with my disdain for banks.)
I never buy tickets for sports events because I work at them. I was horrified to learn that seats in Section 136 in left field cost $110 each. Oh, my goodness. I would have felt all right if Chris had spent, say, $45 per ticket. Later, I heard that the Mets were discounting thousands of tickets to fill up the park for the Dickey-Sabathia matchup. How do people manage to attend these events? (I did my best to combat high concessions prices by bringing in some delicious summer rolls and baguettes from my favorite little Vietnamese place in Bayside.)
2. It is noisy. The sound system bombarded us with witless noise from batting practice to the last out – denying fans a chance to talk baseball.
3. It is competitive. The Yankee fans were at least as loud as the Mets fans, reminding me of the 2000 World Series when Yankee fans gobbled up tickets on the open market and outcheered the Mets fans (Of course, they had more to cheer about in those three games in Shea.)
4. It can be funny. Four Yankee fans behind me (three of them female) were cheering for each Yankee home run. Two Mets fans (I think mother and daughter, in orange shirts) took offense.
Do you have to be so noisy? The Mets mother asked, good-humoredly, maybe.
We’re your guests, one Yankee woman retorted nicely, maybe. You should be more polite.
They settled into a détente. After Cano’s homer put the Yankees ahead, one Yankee female offered a large box of fries to the Mets fan.
I don’t want Yankee fries, the Mets mother sniffed. They have 27 more grams of sodium.
Several rows of fans laughed.
Nice one, the Yankee woman replied with a true New Yawkuh appreciation of a zinger.
5. The game is different from left field. My brother told me A-Rod had blasted shots far over our section in batting practice, but A-Rod came nowhere close when it counted. We were looking over the shoulders of Scott Hairston and Raul Ibanez, as they glided toward fly balls in their direction. Easy plays – for calm professionals, that is. Even from this far away, we could appreciate defense by Cano and Teixeira, and we could reconstruct a bad exchange near first between Turner and Dickey. But home plate was at the far end of our range. It was hard to see pitches cross home plate, hard to follow the umpire’s signal.
6. The ritual is reassuring. Directly in front of us, a boy in a yarmulke sat next to his dad, while capturing images of the game on his electronic tablet. We who have grown children may have felt a little nostalgic, even jealous, over watching this rite of passage.
7. Being in the crowd can be downright enjoyable. With rain pushing most fans back under the eaves, we huddled in place for the bottom of the ninth. We could hear the crack as Ike Davis lashed a drive to right for the final out. Mets and Yankees fans mingled soddenly, politely, on the down staircases. The three of us had survivors’ pride from getting through the sensory wars. I could see doing this again sometime -- if we start saving now.
(Your comments on the inner life in the stands are appreciated.)
6/25/2012 12:42:29 pm
Yup - $110. The obvious fact is, George, people can't afford them, especially in this (let's face it honestly) economic depression. The Jets sent out ticket info yesterday -- offering poor view $50 seats that will not protect against the wind, rain and snow. Better, but not great. The financial expectation of the major sports clubs is not the financial reality of the average fan. Empty stadium seats and fat media contracts is the new reality -- there are just not that many investment bankers anymore.
6/25/2012 03:49:45 pm
I went to the Friday night game. My second trip to the Shake Shack in Queens. Really like the ballpark and as a Mets fan I picked the right game of the series to attend (both starting pitchers with a hit, and prompted me to learn it was Pettitte's eighth hit in pinstripes). And it was better than my first trip to the new park, when Luis Castillo disappeared from the game - as I learned post-game driving down the BQE listening to WFAN - because he slipped down the dugout steps. That one also included two Pujols home runs (including a 10th inning grand slam) and a K-Rod blown save.
6/25/2012 05:21:15 pm
My sister-in-law commented on the paucity of playbacks -- Dickey's great slide home, the bobble at first. I think there is an MLB rule against showing anything that could be construed as controversial or calling the umpire's decision into question. But with all that heavy-metal equipment, you'd think they could give you details along with all the junk decibels. Essentially, people who run sports think fans arre stupid. GV
6/29/2012 03:48:04 am
For $50 you can park at the Jet game, if you're "lucky" enough to have a permit. I had season tickets for 44 years but Woody priced me out. Wonder why the Jets don't seem to have a home field advantage? Maybe Donald Trump doesn't yell as loud as I did.
6/25/2012 03:49:59 pm
We just moved from Cincinnati to Boston, and while loving Boston, we miss walking down to the park in downtown Cincy for $10 seats with a view of the Ohio River into the bargain. That kind of price also makes it possible to enjoy baseball on a night when you maybe have only 2 hours to spend instead of 3.5. You can have a hot dog, watch the game, and leave in the 5th or 6th inning without feeling guilty about wasting, well, $110.
6/25/2012 05:18:46 pm
Thanks, as you can tell, I love Cincinnati, spent a lot of good times there, and love that view. Walked across the Roebling Bridge in the snow after a Bengals game two years ago. I remember the hill in LF at Crosley Field. Love Cincinnati. GV
6/26/2012 08:29:26 am
Fritz, the answer to your prayers is minor league baseball. Don't know the specifics around Boston, but it can't be too far. I get my own stadium kicks these days from the New Britain, CT Rock Cats. Great food, nice people, spotless stadium (someone last year commented at the food stand, "you can eat off this counter," and I looked down at my feet and added, "or the floor"). There are a lot of Polish people (literally, from Poland) from the community who work there and can't stop cleaning everything, similar to your Red Legs experience. $8.
6/26/2012 12:21:13 pm
6/25/2012 04:12:45 pm
Like you, I have been insulated from the reality of what it costs fans to attend sports events that we're accustomed to getting paid to cover. But-excuse me- $110 to sit in the OUTFIELD? That's a long, long way from $3.75 for the upper deck behind 3rd base at Connie Mack that I used to save for as a kid. I don't know how people send their children to school, let alone buy a ticket to take them to a baseball game. I DO know that it costs at $30-$50 just to park your car within walking distance of AT&T Park in San Francisco(I know this because I ride past on my bike often on game days). At this rate, professional sports are more and more an experience reserved for "corporate" fans and the wealthy. Most young people will grow up only knowing their local MLB, NFL or NBA team from seeing them on television. That's a shame.
6/25/2012 05:15:38 pm
John, I walked right past your neighborhood to the SF park last WS.
6/26/2012 01:54:05 am
George, Unfortunately, the cost is why I have not been to a ballgame in the seven years I've been back in New York. Hard to explain to my wife why I should spend $100 on an athletic event instead of what she wants to do. By the way, what happened to that baseball park you attended last year and the year before, Strawberry Fields?
6/26/2012 03:50:40 am
I took my my wifr and two teenage children to the Nats-Orioles game Sunday, Sat in the Upper Deck in left field. Tickets were $9.00 each. Took subs and chips in from alocal deli. Brought my own water from home to drink. Had a great time and I spent about $70.00 on the whole experience. Rode the light rail in to the game with car packed with Nats and O's fans having a great time discussing which team was better. The tran ride for the four of us was $13.00. My total is still not $110.00.
6/26/2012 04:58:45 am
Good for you. It can be done. The Mets have a sliding scale, much higher for Yankees. My son takes his two daughters to New Shea, scores tickets on Ebay or whatever for $7-9 (maybe not this year with the Mets doing well) and the moves down to the food court in deep RF, where there is a decent view.. He says there is a nice fish sandwich for reasonable price -- I used to pack PBJ for the kids back in the day, much to their chagrin. It can be done. I love the idea of mass transit -- took the Long Island RR to the game the other night. Keep the faith for patronizing reasonable prices. GV
6/26/2012 12:03:47 pm
6/26/2012 04:41:52 pm
To complete the 60's era pricing at Yankee Stadium, the Box Seats were $3.50 and the bleachers were 75¢. I wonder what the YES network gets from cable companies per viewer?
6/26/2012 05:27:38 pm
To answer my own question, according to the numbers crunchers (web site Deadspin), everyone who subscribes to a cable TV service in NY, NJ and CT paid to the Yankees YES Network last year, on average, $33.60, whether or not they watched a single game.
6/29/2012 03:53:22 am
And scorecards were 15 cents, with a pencil stub. Wonder if anyone keeps score any more?
6/29/2012 04:13:06 am
The only way to really know what each player has done is by keeping score, which I have done religiously since 1945. It was one of the first things I thought my kids when we started goIng to games. They still do it. It would be a meaningful addition to the fancy score boards to see a score card of the game.
6/28/2012 09:26:21 am
Going to a baseball game doesn't have to be expensive.
6/28/2012 10:03:10 am
When I was a teenager in the 80s, I could sit in the outfield bleachers at shea, take the subway up and back from the ballpark, and maybe have a cole and some popcorn for like $20. Now I live in California and go to Angels games, and when I took my niece to a game a few weeks ago, the whole thing - food, gas, tickets - was $300. People scratch their heads and wonder why attendance is down 15% at the Big A this year, especially after signing Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson. I suspect its that something's gotta give and the only way a club can afford their payrolls is by charging fans so much. It seems like it's self-defeating. And, really, why would I wanna go to a game and pay good money to get bombarded with horrible noise between every pitch when I can watch the game at home in peaceful tranqulity. Baseball is supposed to be quiet and pastoral, not dumb and crude. Things have changed...
6/28/2012 11:56:03 am
Exactly why I picked up summer rolls in Bayside before getting back on the LIRR. And you're right, there are cheaper seats.
6/28/2012 02:52:01 pm
6/28/2012 04:24:38 pm
Readers will recognize that Bill Wakefield pitched very well for the 64 Mets. Larry Bearnarth used to play touch football with us Newsday guys in the fall when he wasn't sub-teaching. Great guy.
6/28/2012 03:40:04 pm
Once again, you're spot on. $110 for an outfield seat is outrageous. The noise and inane inter-inning video games or races are off-putting and distract from the game. Why anyone would want to go to a ball game and then spend 30-60 minutes walking to a food court, standing in line, waiting, and then walking back, I don't know.
6/28/2012 04:28:15 pm
Michael: thanks, I did take the LIRR (even stopped for the summer rolls in Bayside)...my brother was driving down from upstate, so he had reason to park, nearly the ball park. I am spoiled because I park free when working. I am not naive, but it is a shocker to be reminded of the incremental costs of being a fan. Of course, we spent to see Madame Butterfly at the Met last fall -- well spent, I would say. GV
6/29/2012 01:54:16 am
George, I'd bet it was well-spent money for the Met as well -- they're one of the best opera companies in the US.
6/28/2012 04:51:00 pm
First major league game I remember going to was Milwaukee, 1970. Ticket prices were understandable: $5 mezzanine (press-box level), $4 boxes, $3 lower grandstand, $2 upper grandstand, $1 bleachers.
6/29/2012 01:37:07 am
And in 1970, gas cost 36 cents a gallon, you could buy a house for $25K, and a pair of warm and well-lined boots sold for $40. Everything just costs a lot more than it did 40+ years ago. If nobody else is willing to sell their product at 1970 prices, why should anyone expect a baseball franchise to be the exception?
6/29/2012 06:17:55 am
Fair enough. But the high end seats make me nuts, especially when people don't use them, or spend their game in the box, eating and drinking. It's a different sport.
7/2/2012 02:41:48 pm
Hi George, This is a late response as we have been on the road, and had limited or no connectivity. Saw the Friday game with son Bruce, a Brooklyn guy. We saw game 7 in 86 together, too and an occasion one since we move to Flori-duh. Bought seats in upper deck behind home plate, good view, $50 each, plus fees, taxes, etc. Still better than left field. One gripe, no escalator to third deck, lots of stairs and a small elevator with a crowd waiting. Customer friendly? Happily the Mets won, beating Petitte,, (no particular joy in that.) The week before I saw the Mets win in St. Pete, There the same seats, third deck behind home, went for $16 I think. Wish more fans were there. In Magog, east of Montreal, wish the Expos were still here. Happy 4th.
7/2/2012 02:55:12 pm
nice to hear from you.
7/11/2012 03:41:04 pm
Well done George you struck a cord. I appreciate also your comment about the noise. Red Bulls do the same before the game and half time. You cannot hear yourself think. Nevertheless come join us at RBs in the sands you will love it- of course once the game starts! TG
7/13/2012 06:03:06 am
Tom, thanks, if they had American marketing geniuses, UK football fans would never have developed their a capella choruses. I'm planning on a Red Bulls game soon, as antidote to all those make-a-buck exhibitions. Best, GV
10/10/2012 07:10:49 pm
MLM business plan will assist with effective planning that will establish exactly what investors want to know. They want to know if you have done the planning that will help you keep everything in proper perspective, because without a step by step business plan, there is no way that you can keep your business running successfully.
Comments are closed.
“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.