Monday, June 29, 2009

Cheap Family Fun: Minor League Baseball

If you plan well ahead of time, taking your family to a minor league baseball game can be an inexpensive and fun family activity.

We took the kids to see the Kinston Indians (K-Tribe) play Saturday night. It was their first experience to watch a professional baseball game. They really enjoyed the experience and the excitement of the evening.

Here's how we made it an cheap family night out, and some of the highlights.

1) For an evening game, eat dinner before going to the game. The game started at 7pm, which meant we either ate an early dinner or ate at the game. dogs at the game, which cost money? Plus fries and drinks? dogs and fries at home, which we already had, and didn't have to spend any money to get. The answer was an easy decision for me, although it took me a long time to convince my husband. He had "heard" that K-Tribe had the best hot dogs around, and he was looking forward to trying out 2 or 3 to find out for himself. But in the interest of sticking to our budget, I had to put my foot down and say no. So we ate hot dogs & fries at home about 5pm before heading out. You could do the same thing for games that started around lunch time.

2) Find out when the team will have cheap ticket games. K-Tribe has $2 Tuesday, when all tickets cost just $2. Plus, if you take a Kraft Single wrapper with you to a minor league game on Tuesday nights, you can take advantage of a BOGO opportunity (buy one ticket get one free!). Details here. Since I work during the day, and knowing I'd have to go in to work on Wednesday, we chose to not go to a Tuesday game and to stick with a Saturday game.

3) Not only does K-Tribe offer $2 Tuesdays, they also provide a military discount on tickets. My father-in-law (who is retired Air Force) and mother-in-law decided to go with us to the game Saturday night. Dad stepped in line in front of us just before we got to the ticket booth, and whipped out his military discount. So instead of paying $7 per person, he only paid $4. We lucked out and didn't have to buy tickets thanks to his generosity. So even if you're not able to go on your team's discount day, you can still save on tickets if you are military (or you have a generous father-in-law!).

3) If you do buy something, i.e. snacks/drinks/souvenirs, stick to a budget. I brought only $10 cash to buy snacks and drinks. That didn't go very far, but it kept us from getting more than what we actually needed. I brought drinks for the kids in sippy cups, a bottle of water for me, and hubs packed a couple of sodas into a large cup with a lid. It was a warm evening, so we quickly drank everything up. So I spent our $10 cash on a large drink for hubs and slurpees for the kids, which I shared with them. Had I been thinking, I would have packed a few snacks in my purse as well. My son insisted that he wanted ice cream and only ice cream would do. But I didn't have money for ice cream since I had already used up the $10 by the time he begged for ice cream. Fortunately, my mother-in-law had packed a baggie of snacks for the kids. Oh well, you live, you learn.

We went on Spider-Man night. The kids were really excited to see Spider-Man, but I couldn't convince either of them to go near him for a photo op. This was the best I could get--from the top of the bleachers where we were sitting, looking out at the back of the park where Spider-Man was and getting a shot of him with my zoom lens.
Even though we were in the nose bleed section, literally the uppermost row of bleachers, we still had great seats in my opinion. We were right behind home plate. No way we'd be able to catch a foul ball, but we could see all the action, and there was a really good breeze that wasn't in other sections of the stadium.It was fun watching some of the activities inbetween innings, like these two going at it sumo-wrestler style!
About the 8th inning, my daughter decided she was ready to go home. She was wore out & tired! But she was a good trooper and stuck it out until the end of the 12th inning, when we called it a night and headed home. The game was tied 2-2, and who knew how long it'd take for someone to win and the game to be decided.
For his first professional baseball game (come to think of it, it was also my first professional baseball game) my son held up very well. He was easily distracted, as most 5-year-olds tend to be, but he did have fun and we were able to teach him a little more about the game. He was impressed at the outfielders catching fly balls. He played in the outfield nearly the entire season on his coach pitch team, and he absolutely hated it because it was "boring." I think he realized that outfielders are important, too!

1 comment:

  1. I have many great memories of going to minor league baseball games with my family when I was a kid. I don't remember much about the actual games, but I loved to watch all of the people! We're taking our kids to their first baseball game in a few weeks. It's not the minor leagues, but the Astros have free tickets for kids during the summer, so we're pretty excited.


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