Major league fun at a fraction of the cost

Take Me Out to the (Minor League) Ballgame

by April Serock

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Ah, baseball. It's the national pastime and the quintessential American sport. Taking the family out to the ball park on a balmy summer afternoon is an American tradition. It can also be quite a costly tradition, especially if you're going to see a Major League team take the field. Want to get the entertainment value of going to a big league game without the big league price tag? Try a Minor League Baseball game this summer instead.

According to Team Marketing Report, the average cost for a family of four to attend a Major League Baseball game in 2014 was $212.48. This cost included two adult tickets, two children's tickets, four small soft drinks, two small beers, four hot dogs, two programs, two adult-sized caps, and parking., the official website of Minor League Baseball, listed the average price for a family of four to attend a minor league baseball game in 2014 at only $63.55. The Minor League prices included only one program and omitted the cost of the baseball caps, but at a savings of 70% over Major League prices, you could splurge on a second program and some baseball caps and still save a bundle.

You can save even more by taking advantage of discount or promotional days offered by many Minor League teams. Promotions might include special offers on food packages or even theme nights where you can get a discount on tickets by dressing in cowboy gear or your old prom dress. Some teams offer free admission to members of the military on designated days.

Or get together a group of friends or family members and purchase tickets in advance for a special group rate. The number of tickets you must purchase to qualify for a group rate varies by ballpark, but generally ranges from 10-15 tickets. As a bonus, your group's name may even be featured on the stadium's big screen.

In addition to savings at the actual ballpark, you'll likely save money getting there, too. There are only 30 Major League Baseball teams in the United States. Some states, like New York and Pennsylvania, have several Major League teams. Many others, like North Carolina, New Mexico, and Montana, don't have any. However, with almost 200 teams associated with Minor League Baseball (not including independent minor league teams), you might be much closer to a Minor League baseball park than a Major League baseball park. If you consider that traffic going to and leaving from the smaller Minor League stadiums is generally much lighter as well, you could save considerable money on gas by attending a Minor League game.

Major League baseball games certainly have their appeal with superstars making plays worthy of the highlight reel, but seeing the players before they become stars has its own appeal. Minor League games tend to be interesting as players work out the kinks before going to the "Big Show." Minor League players are also often more willing to sign autographs and engage with fans.

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Then there are the sometimes corny, always amusing entertainments like competitive dizzy bat or remote control car races between innings in a Minor League Baseball game. When you consider all these perks, plus the money you will save, taking your family out to the Minor League Baseball game is a guaranteed home run for inexpensive summertime fun!

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