Cracker Jacks and hot dogs.
Iced cold sodas and even colder beers.
Three hours of pure Americana– a timeless sport of modern heroes.
The strike of the ball, the swing of the bat, the crowd.
A coalescence of all walks of like coming together to cheer on the home team.
Danger. Danger. Warning, Will Robinson. Warning, Will Robinson.
Absolutely in 1950.
Definitely in 1980.
Probably in 2000.
It is almost impossible for an average American family to attend a ball game. I find this reality to be somewhat of a tragedy, a precursor signaling the onset of the “us and them” attitudes of the rich and average.
We are a family of five. My husband and I both work full-time. We pay our mortgage, our car payments, and our taxes. We find enough money to support the kids’ activities, and in the summer, when the city is bustling, we want to get involved and have our children experience life for all it has to offer. We want them to feel a kinship with their fellow Clevelanders and become true enthusiasts and supporters of all this city has to offer.
“Let’s go to a ballgame!”
What a great idea!
Then I look at ticket prices.
Within the last five years, what used to be a twenty dollar ticket has skyrocketed to $55.00 a seat. How do I justify spending close to $300.00 just to walk through the door (I’m taking into account Ticketmaster charges and parking)? Once I factor in concessions, we are probably looking at another $100.00. What middle class American family can afford to attend multiple games in the summer knowing this is what they will be spending? Sure, we could go to one, maybe even two, but I LOVE baseball and I want to attend more than that!
I try to rationalize.
It’s only money. Sounds good until I look at my checking account and sure wish I had an extra four bills to put toward the landscaping project in the backyard.
Tom and I could just go. Well dang it, that defeats the whole “family” thing I’ve got going on.
We could pawn two off at a time, and only take one at a time. Yes, we could do that, but the bonds of sisterhood can be formed over a blustering rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” that lands them all beaming on the jumbotron.
So, I am left with a few options: break the bank or skip the game and feel a slight sense of guilt because I cannot afford to give my children what I want them to have.
I guess baseball has finally entered into the arena with all other major league sports. The problem is that no other sport plays 164 games in regular season. The other sports can charge more because in a world of supply and demand, there are less seats in relation to the length of the season. When taking into consideration they Browns only play eight home games, it is much easier to rationalize a more expensive seat.
Maybe the sport of baseball will remember that they need me to be able to bring my girls to five or six games a year so that they will develop into the baseball aficionados that I am, and someday, want to share the love of the sport with their own children.
Our family used to try to support the Indians a few times a year. However, it seems impossible. Maybe its just a sign of the times. Baseball has moved itself into the realm of the other major markets who aren’t looking at “the family” as their customer any longer.
Sometimes, when I want to be able to embrace the spirit of sitting in the ballpark, I feel as if I have been tricked. I feel as disappointed as that young fan standing outside the courthouse in 1920; the boy who thought of Joe Jackson as a paladin: a regular guy living out a dream one home run at a time. However, it was a ruse, a curveball of the greatest proportions. “Say it ain’t so Joe.” Maybe, the greed of Joe Jackson has always been the driving stimulus of our sport, and I have been tricked into believing they were playing for me, my city, and for the love of the game itself.