Come Out and Watch The Boys of Summer
By Patti Hermes – Parent to Parent
Baseball season is in full swing, finally.
There are plenty of leagues for kids to play in, but they often end way too soon for the real fans. So what’s a baseball-loving family to do when the season ends? Shell out a lot of money for a Major League game?
Back when I was growing up, most middle-class families could easily afford a day at the ballpark, sometimes even a few times during the summer vacation. Nowadays, Major League Baseball has priced itself practically out of reach of today’s families. In addition to inflated ticket prices, there’s parking fees, and concessions that make airport food look cheap, not to mention the obligatory giant foam finger to show off your team spirit.
Throw in night games, lots of beer, and plenty of bad behavior among the fans and many MLB games are no longer maintaining their former family-friendly atmosphere. You can see for yourself when watching the televised games, a Cubs vs White Sox game is no place for little kids anymore.
But never fear, there’s plenty of quality professional baseball teams playing all over the country. Most major league teams are affiliated with several minor league teams. You may even have a minor league team closer to your hometown than the big-city majors. While often smaller, most ballparks in the minor leagues are well-maintained, clean and comfortable. The variety of entertainment between innings rivals that of the big leagues, and in some cases, the concessions are even better (and priced more reasonably).
In recent years, my family has made a habit out of supporting our local team at least a few games per summer season. Our children participate in the annual reading program, where they earn a free game ticket and T-shirt, and we look forward to running the bases at least once each season. The ticket prices are in the $10-$12 range, as are many of the teams around the country (some are even less!) so we can usually squeeze in a few games into our summer plans.
Minor League Baseball is every bit as professional as the Big Show, minus the hefty price tag, and fun for the whole family. Send your family statistician to MiLB.com Stats where they can get their fill of numbers on all the players, teams and league standings. You can find a list of teams and their affiliates here, most with links to team home pages linking to schedules, tickets and you could even buy a baseball cap to support your new home team.
So whether it’s a triple A team like the Pawtucket Red Sox, a rookie affiliate like the Billings Mustangs, or the Tulsa Drillers, the Kane County Cougars, or the Boise Hawks, the boys of summer are out there playing. Bring the family and go root for the home team. I hope you get to see some fireworks for every home run!
Patti Hermes is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it’s a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at http://writesforchocolate.blogspot.com.
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