Nowadays, a day at the ballpark is about more than just watching the game — It’s also about delicious food, free prizes and fun extras. Enjoy America’s pastime this summer with our game-day tips to get the biggest bang for your buck and make the most out of your ballgame ticket.
While some ballparks are known for their specialty food, like Petco Park’s assortment of local San Diego brews and Wrigley Field’s famed Chicago Dogs, every ballpark offers some overpriced staples like bottled water, chips, peanuts, and fruit that are best brought from home. Read the park’s food rules in advance to make sure what’s allowed and what isn’t, though, so you’re not stuck at the gate with a cooler of snacks you’ll have to leave behind.
Get more out of your game ticket by showing up a couple hours early to catch the players’ batting practice where you can get a front-row seat to the pre-game action. Watch the players warm up and you might even catch a stray ball or an autograph.
From bats and hats to toys and trinkets, all professional and minor league baseball teams designate giveaway days throughout the season. Check online to find out what giveaways are in store and plan your trip to the ballpark accordingly. Read the fine print, though, because oftentimes the door prizes are given out on a first-come-first-served basis, so plan on getting there early to score your free gift.
Tickets and Parking
Shave a few bucks off your game-day costs by looking into special deals when you purchase parking along with your game ticket. On popular days the stadium lots can fill up fast, so getting your parking plans in order isn’t a bad idea anyway.
Root, root, root for the home team in style from your very own private box or suite. Gather a group of fellow fans for an unforgettable game-day experience. Access to excellent food, comfy seats, air conditioning and private restrooms means you’ll be enjoying the game in ultimate comfort. Private suites can be a costly upgrade, but divided among friends, it might be more reasonable that you would think.
Join the Action
Baseball doesn’t have to just be a spectator sport. Bring along your glove so you’re ready for any fly ball that comes your way and pick up a scorecard to follow the game along with the pros.
Baseball stadiums often have a little something special for little sluggers. Look for kids’ areas such as Busch Stadium’s Family Pavilion in St. Louis, where your little one can take a swing in the batting cages or make a souvenir Fredbird, the team mascot, at the onsite Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Oriole Park at Camden Yards has a decked out Kids’ Corner replete with moon bounce, speed pitch and play area; and in the Fan Lot at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, kids can take a plunge down one of four super slides or play little slugger on the miniature ballpark replica. If you happen to be in Arizona watching the Diamondbacks, cool off in their famous stadium pool, located just behind the wall in right-centerfield.
– By Lana Evans, Editor