Wrigley Field Hot Dogs And Sausages

MLB Ballpark Guides


Wrigley Field Hot Dogs And Sausages

Posted by Kurt Smith

Did you know that there are at least five varieties of hot dogs and sausages at Wrigley Field? I don’t mean just different toppings…I mean five very different Wrigley Field hot dogs and sausages stands, and that’s not counting the Sheffield Counter or the basic generic dog.

And they’re all great in their own way. Here’s what you should know…read this whole thing, truly.

 

wrigley field hot dogs chicago dogs

I was too hungry to provide an “after” picture with the necessary condiments included.

1) Chicago Dogs. The nicely-sized Chicago dogs are Vienna Beef (yes, they’re all-beef) dogs on poppy seed buns, with grilled onions if you so desire. There are condiment stands with all the toppings to make it a true Chicago dog…chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, mustard, sauerkraut and neon green relish. I believe they have the celery salt too. Great for seeing what this Chicago hot dog stuff is about.

 

wrigley field hot dogs high plains bison

OK, so maybe it needs some work with pepper distribution.

2) High Plains Bison Dogs. High Plains is the Official Lean Meat of the Chicago Cubs; they have dogs, sausages and brats here made from leaner bison meat. Tastes just like a beef dog but leaner, and you can pile on peppers, onions and marinara.

(continued below)

Are You Spending $312.32* For One Cubs Game?
*Average cost for a family of four in 2016.

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wrigley field hot dogs wrigley field smokies

Made with Vienna Beef? Whew!

3) Wrigley Field Smokies. The Cubs brought back the popular Vienna Beef smoked sausages from the Tribune days (and without the 100-loss seasons!); they are hickory-smoked beef sausages with a secret blend of seasonings. The Smokies cost a bit more than regular dogs but are larger, and you can order them in Wrigleyville supermarkets.

 

wrigley field hot dogs gilberts

No, it doesn’t come with the onion. At least as far as I know.

4) Gilbert’s Craft Sausages. Gilbert’s is the Official Sausage of the Cubs; they’re craft sausages that are gluten-free and contain no MSG or nitrites. There are several types of sausage sandwiches here, like the Caprese chicken sausage with diced tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, or the Beef and Cheddar with mac and cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and BBQ sauce. I’ve read that the rolls hold all this stuff up well.

 

wrigley field hot dogs hot doug's

With a logo like this, you know it’s a great dog.

5) Last but definitely not least: Hot Doug’s. The enormously popular Hot Doug’s cart closed up shop, but Doug Sohn’s amazing red hots are now available in the Wrigley Field bleachers; lines get long and for good reason. Dogs are named for Cubs greats; the the “Barry Foote” is a corned beef sausage with Russian dressing, shredded Swiss and sauerkraut; and the “Champ Summers” is a spicy Polish sausage with Goose Island beer mustard and crispy fried onions. Hot Doug’s rotates different dogs for each homestand, and there’s always something unusual.

 

There’s your five choices of Wrigley Field hot dogs and sausages; not surprising considering that Chicago worships the hot dog. But there’s much more for you to much on at Wrigley, like Giordano’s pizza and Joe Maddon hoagies…not to mention the offerings at the Sheffield Counter and Platform 14.

You can learn about all things food and everything else at Wrigley Field, in this handy little guide.

Gilbert’s photo courtesy of Gilbert’s. Hot Doug’s logo courtesy of Hot Doug’s.

Click here for the Ballpark E-Guides Wrigley Field page…

 

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Fenway Park With Kids – Three Things To Know

Posted by Kurt Smith

Visiting Fenway Park with kids is light years better today than it once was before the congestion reduction, but it’s still a challenge. So Ballpark E-Guides, looking out for every demographic, has three tips for parents:

 

fenway park with kids kid nation

Hey honey, we’re part of the club!

Fenway Park With Kids, Tip #1) Get a FREE Ticket From Kid Nation. Yes, unbelievable as it may seem, the Red Sox offer a free ticket with membership in the free edition of Red Sox Kid Nation. The paid membership is even better…it includes a backpack, a jersey and chances to get other stuff. Well worth the price.

You still have to buy a ticket for you of course, but a free ticket to the most expensive ballpark in baseball is a nice thing.

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fenway park with kids kids zone

Get them good and tired so that they sit still for the game.

Fenway Park With Kids, Tip #2) Outdoor and Indoor Play Areas. Yawkey Way now features those bouncy houses and face painting and such, and the Sox have added an indoor play area called “Wally’s Clubhouse” to the Big Concourse in right field. Virtual reality batting cages, visits with the mascot – it’s the place to be for young ones, and there’s plenty of dogs and ice cream stands in the Big Concourse. Wally’s is open to kids starting in the 3rd inning for some reason.

 

fenway park with kids calling all kids

“Great selfie honey. Where are the kids?”

Fenway Park With Kids, Tip #3) Calling All Kids Month. In June, the Red Sox arrange lots of activities for kids; they can take photos with ballplayers, or even help the grounds crew and save the Red Sox some costs. There are even kid’s crew Red Sox employees outside of the ballpark to greet the little ones. Pay attention to the team e-mail newsletter for good stuff.

As I’ve said, Fenway is greatly improved for bringing the kids, but it can still get cramped and crowded in the concourses especially. Be sure to keep an eye on the little one especially in the concourse areas.

And when you need to know more about making a day at Fenway affordable for the family, check out this handy little guide.

 

More About Fenway Park:

Visiting Fenway Park – Five Tips For Newbies

Three Fenway Park Seating Tips

The Fenway Frank – As Baseball As Life Gets

 

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Fenway Park Food – Get Your Lobster Heah.

Posted by Kurt Smith

With the Fenway Park food menu expanding, one would think people would start to eschew the ubiquitous Fenway Frank. Fortunately that isn’t happening, but if you’re looking for some Massachusetts lobster with your baseball, you have several great choices at the ballpark in Boston…

 

Fenway park food lobster roll

I like Red Sox baseball more just looking at this.

Fenway Park Food, Lobster Bit #1) The Lobster Roll. The great thing about the Fenway lobster roll is that it’s served on the same white bread bun as the Fenway Frank – and it’s lightly toasted since you’re paying a few extra bucks. The lobster roll includes lettuce, tomato chunks, and a creamy sauce. You can find it easily at the Fish Shack on Yawkey Way, but it’s available in the concourses too.

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fenway park food lobster melt

Anyone think this should be the new Aramark logo?

Fenway Park Food, Lobster Bit #2) The Lobster Melt. This has been added in the recent “ballparks need more grilled cheese” craze…it’s a grilled cheese sandwich with steamed lobster, muenster cheese and a slice of tomato. It’s “Yankee” lobster, for some head-shaking reason.

 

fenway park food lobster poutine

I would climb a mountain of these things just to put that flag in.

Fenway Park Food, Lobster Bit #3) The Lobster Poutine Stak. This amazeballs creation found in the Big Concourse was ranked #8 in For The Win’s craziest ballpark snacks of 2017. But if loving steak fries covered with lobster bisque, cheese curds, lobster meat and chives is crazy, then I don’t want to be normal.

There’s three Fenway Park food choices for seafood lovers; but don’t miss out on your other choices of food at Fenway, including the outside vendors, Tasty Burgers, Regina’s pizza and so much more. Find the perfect ballpark grub for your next trip to Fenway with this handy and inexpensive guide.

Lobster Melt and Lobster Poutine Stak photos courtesy of Aramark.

 

More About Fenway Park:

Visiting Fenway Park – Five Tips For Newbies

The Fenway Frank – As Baseball As Baseball Gets

Can You Bring Food Into Fenway Park?

 

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Camden Yards With Kids: Three Things To Know

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re visiting Camden Yards with kids, you have some advantages – cheap tickets, for one, with the O’s struggling at the gate even in winning times. And plenty of inexpensive parking and outside food vendors.

Here are three things parents should know when bringing the kids to Oriole Park…

 

camden yards with kids junior orioles

It costs a bit more and it’s only six games now. But the team wins a bit more.

Camden Yards With Kids, Tip #1) Join The Club. The Junior Orioles Dugout Club is great for the kids, especially if you can go to multiple games. For a small fee, the kid gets six free game tickets, cool gear, access to kids’ newsletters and front of the line access on run the bases days. It’s in the “Fans” section of the Orioles website. Speaking of which…

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards guide

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camden yards with kids thank you

What can I say, except “You’re welcome.”

Camden Yards With Kids, Tip #2) Go on Sunday. On Sundays the Orioles offer cool activities for the kids, like face painting and autographs, not the least of which is running the bases after the game. And if the kids are into play areas at the ballpark…

 

camden Yards with kids play area

And O’s employees even come out on cold days.

Camden Yards With Kids, Tip #3) Sit In The Right Field Corner. The play area at Camden Yards with the moon bounce, pitching and batting cages and a small jungle gym isn’t the greatest of any ballpark, but it can keep them occupied for a while. It’s at the south end of Eutaw Street, near Gate H.

One more thing…don’t forget their “first game” certificate, which you can pick up at Guest Services on Eutaw Street. It’s near Boog’s BBQ.

Hopefully those are some helpful tips for enjoying a game at Camden Yards with the family. If you’d like to know more about how to score great deals and find a great seat at Oriole Park, you should definitely order one of these.

 

More About Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

Visiting Camden Yards: Five Tips For Newbies

Four Ways To Score Cheap Orioles Tickets

Can You Bring Food Into Camden Yards?

 

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Can You Bring Food Into Camden Yards?

Posted by Kurt Smith

I am frequently asked, can you bring food into Camden Yards? The short answer is yes, you can…the Orioles allow a 16*16*8 soft-sided bag or cooler, so long as it doesn’t contain alcohol or potential projectiles.

But the best part of this money-saving tip is the possibilities you have with outside vendors…so here are three tips on where you can find cheap outside grub to bring into the ballpark.

bring food into camden yards crab cake sandwich

Inside the ballpark, it costs more without the roll.

1) Pickles Pub/Slider’s/The Bullpen. I’m not sure which of these three corner pubs sets up all of the tents and outdoor grills and full bars, but I expect it’s all of them. The three establishments are across the street from the ballpark on Washington Street, and the entire area gets packed with pre- and post-game partiers.

You can get a hefty dog, sausage, burger, or crab cake sandwich here for much less than you’d pay inside the ballpark, of course, and there are tables with people selling peanuts, pistachios and bottled water too. Best part? Have a cheap Natty Boh while you’re filling your goody bag…since you can’t get cheap beer OR Natty Boh inside the ballpark.

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Oriole Park at Camden Yards guide

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bring food into camden yards conway vendors

With so many combinations, there’s sure to be one for you!

2) Vendors On Howard And Conway Streets. There are a plethora of vendors with grills selling dogs, sausages and chicken sandwiches, and they’ll offer you a nice deal if you’re willing to haggle and offer to buy more at a discount. As with the vendors near Pickles Pub, on Conway Street, you can also buy much cheaper gear and souvenirs. This is ideal for people arriving by Light Rail…the vendors are right there across the street.

 

bring food into camden yards peanut church

Photo courtesy of the Old Otterbein United Methodist Church. They said I could use it.

3) The Peanut Church. The Old Otterbein United Methodist Church is nicknamed the “Peanut Church”…they’ve been selling fresh bags of roasted peanuts cheaply since Camden Yards opened in 1992, and they’ve used the profits to maintain the church with a new roof and painting and such. If you’re a person of faith you’ll probably think it’s a cool thing. It’s on Conway Street, and if you’re coming from the Inner Harbor you can’t miss it.

Finally, there’s a Jimmy John’s and a Chipotle just steps away, if you want bring food into Camden Yards from someone familiar. But that’s kinda boring.

You can bring food into Camden Yards and save quite a few bucks; but you do have great food options inside the park too, like several variations of crab meat items.

You should eat well at the ballpark…so see what’s on the menu in this handy, inexpensive guide!

 

More about Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

Visiting Camden Yards – Five Tips For Newbies

Three More Camden Yards Food Options (Crab Stuff!)

The Best Way To Get To Camden Yards – Light Rail

 

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Best Way To Get To Camden Yards: Light Rail

Posted by Kurt Smith

When it comes to the best way to get to Camden Yards, you have enough options. Driving and parking generally isn’t too bad, at least by downtown ballpark standards, and if you book ahead of time. But for most Orioles games, I prefer to use the MTA Light Rail, for several reasons:

best way to get to camden yards light rail tickets

Don’t be intimidated. It’s very nice.

1) MTA Light Rail is cheap. It’s less than four bucks as of this writing round trip to use the streetcar, and parking at most stations outside of the city is free. You won’t find decent parking at the ballpark that cheap.

 

best way to get to camden yards light rail stop

With a helpful photo of the ballpark!

2) MTA Light Rail is convenient. Park for free, hop on the streetcar, and get dropped off right there just a few steps from the gate. You can even use nearby stops to get on or off; the Convention Center and Hamburg stations are still closer than most ballpark parking.

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best way to get to Camden Yards traffic

Sure…how slow could an Interstate highway be?

3) MTA Light Rail avoids traffic. Maybe I should have ranked this higher. If you’re driving in from I-83, traffic north of the ballpark in the city is brutal, especially in the evening when the Inner Harbor gets hopping. The streetcar may take some time trudging through the red lights, but at least you know it will get there. Sometimes when you’re driving you’re not sure.

For the best way to get to Camden Yards, you can’t beat the convenience and price of the Light Rail system. But there are lots of other ways, including by boat or bicycle, and you do have some cheap parking options if you do decide to drive your car.

So to choose the best way to get to Camden Yards for your taste, best to order this inexpensive guide.

 

More about Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

Visiting Camden Yards – Five Tips For Newbies

Camden Yards Parking – Three Cheap Spots

Three More Camden Yards Food Options (Crab Stuff!)

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Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

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Cheap White Sox Tickets – Three Useful Tips

Posted by Kurt Smith

When the Pale Hose struggle at the gate, there are numerous ways to find yourself some cheap White Sox tickets. They’re all well-detailed in the Guaranteed Rate Field E-Guide, but here are a few of my favorite tips.

cheap white sox tickets team alerts

They’re very nice people here, but check your inbox first.

Cheap White Sox Tickets, Tip #1) Get Team Ticket Alerts. I recommend this for every team, but the White Sox in particular offer very nice deals to their e-mail subscribers: monthly ballpark passes, flash sales of 200 or so tickets at a very nice price, and a “Sox Save of The Week”. No need to pay face price, especially when you can be flexible about when you go.

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cheap white sox tickets box office

“I don’t know about the window with no line. What if it’s for farm vehicles?”

Cheap White Sox Tickets, Tip #2) Use The Box Office. Except for Opening Day and Cubs games, most White Sox games don’t sell out, and there’s no online fee for buying tickets at the box office. If you’re buying multiple tickets especially, the online fees add up, and they’re not necessary. Just go on game day and get tickets there.

 

cheap white sox tickets community

You don’t have to work quite so hard to get in the ballpark.

Cheap White Sox Tickets, Tip #3) Donate Blood Or Something. The White Sox hold community events and they offer free or discounted tickets to charitable groups…more so than most teams. Check the community and group tickets section of their website, because you may find a deal for philanthropic sorts.

 

cheap white sox tickets seatgeek

Click the image to find deals on White Sox tickets.

Bonus Tip!) Try SeatGeek. My friends at SeatGeek usually have great deals on White Sox tickets, and I’m not just saying that because they’re an affiliate of mine. Click here to check out their inventory of White Sox tickets.

There’s three ways to save money on White Sox tickets, but there’s plenty more deals out there…to know about all of them, best to order yourself this handy little booklet.

 

More About Guaranteed Rate Field:

Visiting Guaranteed Rate Field – Five Tips For Newbies

Guaranteed Rate Field Parking – Three Cheaper Alternatives

Three Foods To Try at Guaranteed Rate Field

 

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FREE eBook for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this eBook, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

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Save Money At The Ballpark…Got $219.53?

Posted by Kurt Smith

Believe it or not, there are dozens of ways to save money at the ballpark, at any ballpark, that you probably aren’t aware of. That’s why I write Ballpark E-Guides…because you’re probably paying much more than you have to.

I’ll share some tips with you here, but first just permit me to complain for a second. I’m sure it won’t surprise you (much), but take a look at this number:

$219.53.

That’s how much it cost to take a family of four to a Major League baseball game in 2016, according to the MLB Fan Cost Index. Four average price tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking one car, and two souvenir caps will set you back over $200. For one game. Eye-popping, isn’t it?

And that’s just the league average—that’s what, say, Tigers or Mets fans pay.

how to save money at the ballpark 60 dollar parking

Anyone got a fifty?

For a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, that number jumps to $360.66. Yankee Stadium? $337.20. Want to see the Cubs at Wrigley Field? That’ll be $312.32, please…and that was before they won their first World Series in 108 years.

Baseball is a business that is well aware of fans’ emotional attachment to the game. You can’t blame them. Writers, actors, and singers all have agents negotiating huge contracts too. It’s in demand, so the price is tall.

And so where does that leave you, the fan of live baseball? Shelling out $219.53, enough for a comfortable piece of furniture, to borrow four small metal seats for a few hours.

how to save money at the ballpark seats citi

Angled properly, but still not all that comfortable.

But what if I shared tips with you that can shave $30, $50, or even $100 or more off of that total?

What if I showed you ways to save sometimes 25% or more on tickets, pay less for hot dogs and sodas, and find cheaper places to park your car…even free spots?

Wouldn’t it be nice to know all the ways you could save money at the ballpark…to the tune of $30, $40 or $50 or more…at your next ballgame? At every game?

If there was a complete guide full of money-saving tips at your home ballpark or a ballpark you planned to visit, you’d want to read it, right?

If so, keep reading.

“Since I’m planning to visit Washington, I got my hands on Kurt’s guide for Nationals Park — and let me tell you, it is THOROUGH. I thought I knew D.C. well, but I’ve already found quite a few nuggets of info in the guide that I’m looking forward to testing for myself. Look in particular for the “Tightwad Tips”…in which he offers money-saving tips that you might not otherwise know about.”
– Edward de la Fuente, The Itinerant Fan
Click here for more rave reviews

 

Things I Didn’t Know…That You Might Not Know.

Here’s just one example: Do you know that most all major league ballparks will let you bring food and non-alcoholic beverages into the ballpark? Why pay $5 for a soda when you can get them for $1 at a nearby drugstore? That’s $16 in savings for a family of four right there. Not to mention what you’ll save buying a bag of peanuts from the nice folks at the nearby church…possibly another four or five bucks.

how to save money at the ballpark vendor camden

The ballpark happy meal.

Already you’ve saved $20. And I’m just getting warmed up.

At every ballpark, there are secrets that insider fans know about saving money…here are just a few examples I’ve found while in specific ballparks:

baseball tickets craigslist

PNC in Pittsburgh allows fans to sell extras.

Save Money At The Ballpark, Tip #1: Several ballparks have scalp-free ticket selling zones where fans unload extras sometimes at face price or lower. Finding someone with an extra ticket can be a steal for you.

 

how to save money at the ballpark nats 401

You can sit in these sections very cheaply.

– Save Money At The Ballpark, Tip #2: There are often ticket specials offered by teams for low demand games, like mid-week or April games. Some teams offer $5 tickets or even a free drink with your ticket.

 

how to save money at the ballpark rounding third

And the wings are pretty good, too.

– Save Money At The Ballpark, Tip #3: Many baseball cities have restaurants nearby where a family can park for free, enjoy an inexpensive meal and get a ride to the ballpark. It’s a great way to save cash on both parking and food.

 

how to save money at the ballpark wrigley express

Definitely beats the Wrigley parking price.

– Save Money At The Ballpark, Tip #4: In some cities you can find affordable commuter transit service that allows you to avoid ballgame traffic coming from the suburbs and save a bunch of dough on parking.

 

how to save money at the ballpark alley hour

The smart fans are already here.

– Save Money At The Ballpark, Tip #5: Some ballparks feature discounts on food when the gates first open. Several teams do this, and it’s a great money-saver, especially for families.

 

how to save money at the ballpark street cart

Street meat.

Save Money At The Ballpark, Tip #6: Almost every big city ballpark has outside vendors that sell bigger hot dogs and quality T-shirts for often half the price that the team is asking. (See the previous paragraph… you can bring in your own food!)

It’s not just about saving money, by the way…you want to get value for what you do spend, too. From picking a seat to getting there to picking a sandwich, you have a lot of decisions to make.

I’m here to help.

“Kurt Smith has left no stone unturned. From transportation to seat selection to food and drink and where to get the best deals, you can find the answer in his Ballpark E-Guides.”
– Scott Ableman, Let Teddy Win
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Going To A Game? You Got This.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of hours researching these things at 15 major league ballparks. I’ve learned a little bit, especially about saving money.

Now whenever a friend or family member needs advice about Camden Yards or Citizens Bank Park or Yankee Stadium, they ask me what to do. I help them get great seats for a great price, find the best spot to park, tell them what to eat at the game and where to celebrate afterward. They always have wonderful things to say about the experience, which makes me happy, of course.

Besides, I’m a fan who likes to travel to see baseball too. Before I started doing this, I wasted a LOT of money seeing live baseball…in Philly, in Baltimore, and on every ballpark road trip I went on. Today I not only spend much less than I used to–even adjusted for inflation!–for live baseball, I’m happy to help friends and family…and you…do it too.

“I live in NJ and recently planned a trip to see an Orioles game for my husband’s birthday…I used the E-Guide for everything from buying tickets to prepaid parking. I especially loved the Tightwad Tips. We had a blast!

This is a great guide and I will be using Ballpark E-Guides next year for my trip to Boston and Fenway Park!”
– Laurie B., Somerdale, NJ
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“$4.99 For The First Minute…”

Unfortunately, I can’t hire myself out as an “Official Baseball Fan Consultant”. I have a full-time job and two kids, so as much as I would love to, I can’t take the time to help you over the phone or IM or whatever. I’d bore you anyway.

But I have written 15 Ballpark E-Guides, for great ballparks like PNC Park, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Camden Yards among many others…and I’ve put every little nugget of helpful money-saving ballpark knowledge I could find in them to help you get the best deal on tickets, parking and food.

All for just $4.99. And you can download and own one right now.

Earlier in this post I said I could shave $100 off of that average total cost of a game. I’m not exaggerating that, because I know…I’ve learned a few ways to save money at the ballpark myself.

Here are just a small few examples:

how to save money at the ballpark yankee sign

The many ways to spend money at Yankee Stadium.

– I recently paid $27 for four Yankees tickets, including fees. According to the Index, that should be $206. Almost $200 in savings!

 

cheap red sox tickets

This way to very good seats.

– I also recently ordered a Red Sox ticket for a friend. For a Friday night game in June at Fenway, I found him a Loge Box seat, in the third row, almost directly behind home plate…for $83 with fees. That ticket’s face price was close to $140…a savings of $57.

 

how to save money at the ballpark comerica

The view from a $2 parking spot.

– I’ve parked for $2 across the street from Comerica Park in Detroit—the Index says that should be $20. (I told people this story for weeks!) It’s $5 to do this now, but for the location it’s still a great deal.

 

foxwoods club Citi Field

A sandwich tasty enough to be exclusively offered to Foxwoods Club patrons.

– Citi Field in New York has numerous clubs with superb food selection; I’ve been able to access the Porsche Grille and the Foxwoods Club (featuring the amazing steak pizzaiola hero shown here) with a ticket that cost me just $24.

 

how to save money at the ballpark garrison

This dog is something like $10 CAD.

– I’ve paid $4 for an sizable hot dog loaded with toppings outside of Rogers Centre in Toronto that would have cost close to $10 inside. Nothing makes you feel smart like street meat!

 

how to save money at the ballpark larosas

Thank you Mat Latos!

– And I once got a Reds ticket, a T-shirt, and a non-alcoholic beer at Great American Ball Park, along with a LaRosa’s pizza after the game…all for a grand total of $12. I paid a total of $5 to park in Newport and ride the Southbank Shuttle to get there. A ballgame plus a T-shirt and pizza…for $17.

 

But Seriously, Here’s The Deal.

I’m not trying to brag about this. You can do it too.

Why keep paying more than you have to for a great night at the ballpark?

“Kurt Smith’s Ballpark E-Guides are a must for any fan. Want to know the best and cheapest way to support your team? Interested in the best seats to see the action? Curious about where to get the best food? Kurt provides all these answers and more.”
– Rob Silverman, MetsMerized
Click here for more rave reviews

own a ballpark e-guide

Since you’re still reading, you must be at least somewhat convinced…there are actually tons of ways to save money at the ballpark…that most fans don’t know about.

So I’ll ask again…

Would you be interested in a booklet full of tips and tricks to help you love live baseball for less money?

You can shell out $219.53 for your next ballgame…or $360.66 for your next game at Fenway Park…or you can download a Ballpark E-Guide eBook for just $4.99 NOW, and find out all of the tricks to pay much less than that…get the best deal on tickets, pick a cheap and/or fun way to get to the game, and know what to choose from the insane menus at the ballpark these days. Everything you need to know about your home ballpark, your team’s rival ballpark, or a ballpark you’re visiting for the first time…it’s all in there.

Guide to Fenway Park

Get your ballgame on now!

By the way, you can also order a nicely compact, beautifully illustrated and slick-papered print edition Ballpark E-Guide NOW for just $7.99 plus shipping. I’ll throw in the eBook with that at no extra charge…a $4.99 value. If you want to keep the eBook for yourself and give the booklet as a gift, be my guest. I’m a cool guy like that.

That price is probably much less than what you’ll save on just one trip to the ballgame…especially with a family.

By the way, if you haven’t already, you can sign up for my absolutely free e-mail newsletter, and get some great insider knowledge at various ballparks, a cool Tip of The Week, deals on the already value-friendly Ballpark E-Guides, and an absolutely free eBook, with a list of my favorite helpful websites for traveling baseball fans. All at no charge whatsoever.

And when you’re tired of forking over $219.53 every time you go to the ballgame (aren’t you already?), click here to own a Ballpark E-Guide NOW!

See you at the Yard!

Best,
Kurt

Baseball Seating: Are You Getting The Best Seat?

Posted by Kurt Smith

I have a question for you regarding baseball seating…

What’s the first thing you do when you go online or to the box office to buy tickets?

You look at the baseball seating chart, right? You look at different pricing levels, and then you make a choice based on your budget and your preferences.

But have you noticed that you never really know what you’re getting with baseball seating, especially when you’re going to a ballpark for the first time?

You do your best to maybe find something near first base to see the close plays or behind home plate for the view or in the club area for the amenities, but most baseball seating charts aren’t much help beyond that, even the nice new interactive ones with 360-degree views.

In each ballpark, there are pros and cons of every seating area, and some offer much better bang for the buck than others. Some ballparks, like Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, even have assigned standing room sections…and you should definitely choose wisely with that.

The baseball seating charts help, but they don’t tell you everything.

For example, do you want to know:

  • If you’ll be in the shade or in the sun?
  • If you’ll enjoy a sweet view of the city or other features like super hi-def scoreboards?
  • Whether you’ll be close to the action or so far away you’ll hear the crack of the bat after you see it?
  • If your section has obstructed views, from support poles, overhangs or landings?
  • If the club seats are worth the extra few bucks?
  • If where you’re sitting is the ideal place for kids, millennials, or visiting fans?
  • What’s included with your tickets in the party areas?
  • If there are standing room spots to avoid?

If your answer any to these questions is: “Yes, I remember that day I forgot my sunscreen, and the language my kids were hearing, and that $60 seat that was a mile away, and that time…etc.”

…then read every word of this post.

“Ballpark E-Guides were a truly tremendous resource. Like many, my life is complicated being a dad and husband, but Kurt’s tips saved me time and energy, allowing me to find the perfect seats to suit my ballpark personality and budget.

I recommend leveraging Kurt and the knowledge he has gathered in his E-Guides. It simplifies the guessing and allows you to basically sit back and just enjoy the game!”
– Bill K., Burlington, NJ
Click here for more rave reviews

 

“Great Seats, Eh Buddy?”

Baseball seating is a tricky thing. Every ballpark has those pitfalls you want to avoid. Here are just a few examples:

– Baseball Seating Pitfall #1: If you’ve been to Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, you may have experienced the dreaded “obstructed view”:

baseball seating fenway park obstructed views Loge

At least the pitcher can’t see who is heckling him.

 

– Baseball Seating Pitfall #2: In some ballparks, maybe you’ve bought lower level seats for a great price and not known why they were so cheap…then you find your seat and you think hmm, I kind of liked looking at the scoreboard:

baseball seating progressive field seating infield lower box

Who’s winning? Man it’s cold!

 

Baseball Seating Pitfall #3: Many of the new ballparks have pretty high upper levels, and they’re not for the acrophobic:

baseball seating yankee stadium seating frieze

I doubt even the Mick could hit one this high.

 

– Baseball Seating Pitfall #4: Sometimes teams won’t tell you certain things about standing room tickets, like how you won’t be able to see the infield if you’re under 11 feet tall:

yankee stadium seating standing room terrace

Anyone have a four-foot stool?

 

– Baseball Seating Pitfall #5: Sometimes a ballpark has seats in spots that make you wonder why in Sam Hill the team even put seats there:

baseball seating rogers centre obstructed view

Half a game is better than none!

 

– Baseball Seating Pitfall #6: Teams aren’t going to tell you about how you’ll roast in those uncovered outfield sections that have lots of white concrete and no shade. Not fun.

baseball seating pepsi porch citi

And no, there isn’t any more shade since this became the Coca-Cola Corner.

 

– Baseball Seating Pitfall #7:  Some seats even have ridiculous restrictions…wouldn’t you love to not know about this until after you were in the ballpark?

baseball seating Guaranteed Rate Field 500 level

The ballpark has other levels?

 

Whether you are going to the game alone, bringing the family, impressing a date, or going with friends for the party, you want to get the best seats you can afford, right?

In a ballpark with 45,000 seats, teams can only go into so much detail. It’s impossible to tell fans everything about where they’ll be sitting, with things like shade and overhangs and such.

But there is a lot more to know than what a seating chart will generally tell you. Teams are not going to let you know if there is a blocked view of something unless it’s really, really bad. And pictures can’t always provide perspective of how close you’ll be.

So maybe I can help you with this.

“Kurt Smith has left no stone unturned. From transportation to seat selection to food and drink and where to get the best deals, you can find the answer in his Ballpark E-Guides.
– Scott Ableman, Let Teddy Win
Click here for more rave reviews

own a ballpark e-guide

 

It’s No Way To Spend Nine Innings…

Would you believe I went to about 30 games at Camden Yards before I realized that I should stop buying the obstructed seats in the *&%!*@#&! Terrace Box sections?

And that at my first game at what is now Guaranteed Rate Field, I had cheap seats in the upper level and could not explore the place, because of the restriction you see above. Fun thing for someone who flew to Chicago to see the city’s ballparks for the first time.

I’ve sat next to a support pole in Fenway that blocked a portion of right field, underneath an overhang in Progressive Field that blocked my view of the scoreboard, and in the bleachers at PNC Park that don’t feature any of the incredible city view.

I know better now.

As you can see from the above photos…some of which were taken from seats that I had actually paid for without knowing about these pitfalls…there are some types of seats and standing room in every ballpark that you should avoid, especially since everyone has different tastes at the game.

“Kurt Smith’s Ballpark E-Guides are a must for any fan. Want to know the best and cheapest way to support your team? Interested in the best seats to see the action? Curious about where to get the best food? Kurt provides all these answers and more.”
– Rob Silverman, MetsMerized
Click here for more rave reviews

own a ballpark e-guide

 

But Back To My Point Here…

But every ballpark has those seats with great value for fans, too. Here are just a few examples…

– Cool Baseball Seating Example #1: Loge Level seats at Miller Park in Milwaukee…where you can sit almost at field level for a very fair price.

baseball seating miller park loge box

Elevated, yet in the shade.

 

– Cool Baseball Seating Example #2: The club section at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, which includes food and non-alcoholic drinks and a great view. Good food too, like LaRosa’s pizza…and at ballpark food prices, it won’t take much to get your money’s worth on that.

baseball seating gabp club

And at the window, you’ll enjoy a fine view of the baseball field with your nachos.

 

– Cool Baseball Seating Example #3: The Grandstand seats at Fenway Park in Boston are a great value, provided you know how to avoid the support poles. The shade is great on hot days, the fans are enthusiastic, and you’re close to the action…in seats that are among the cheapest in the ballpark.

baseball seating fenway park obstructed views section 32

Ah, here’s the trick…just sit in FRONT of the poles!

 

– Cool Baseball Seating Example #4: Being in the upper deck at Camden Yards in Baltimore isn’t bad at all…you’re closer to the field there than in most ballparks. And the view of everything else…the warehouse, the city backdrop, and Eutaw Street…is unparalleled in baseball.

baseball seating camden yards upper level

Building the ballpark around the warehouse. It’s still genius.

 

– Cool Baseball Seating Example #5: Would you believe that for some games at Yankee Stadium, you can get Terrace level seats for as little as five bucks? There is now even a kids’ play area on the upper level, and fans at any income level can bring the family to a game for a memorable experience, at just five bucks for each ticket! (I know, at Yankee Stadium? Really?)

baseball seating yankee stadium terrace

Sure it’s packed when tickets are five bucks!

 

– Cool Baseball Seating Example #6: For almost any game at Nationals Park in Washington, you can buy a ticket at the box office for just $5 as of this writing, and choose a spot from some of the best standing room in baseball. If you want to just get into a ballpark full of great food, discounted beer (!), and sit on a barstool with a counter and enjoy watching a contending team for peanuts, this is for you.

nationals park seating standing room

Lots of people sitting in standing room spots. With a counter no less.

 

– Cool Baseball Seating Example #7: Wrigley Field bleachers in Chicago. ‘Nuff said.

baseball seating wrigley field bleachers

They’ve earned it.

 

“I recently read the Fenway Park E-Guide and could not believe how much I learned. Kurt goes into great detail on where to park, where to buy tickets, best views in the park, how to get to the game, and best places to eat inside and outside of the park.”
– Scott Chamberlain, Woo Chamberlain
Click here for more rave reviews

own a ballpark e-guide

 

So Don’t Settle For Lesser Seats. You Don’t Have To.

Inside every Ballpark E-Guide is a description of every seating area of the ballpark…premium seating, club areas, party areas, box and reserved sections, lower and upper levels, bleachers, even standing room. All with lots of helpful photos. It’s truly the most detailed guide to baseball seating you’ll find about any ballpark.

You’ll know whether you’ll be baking in the sun or staring into it at sunset, whether there is an overhang that blocks your view of the scoreboard, how to avoid a support pole blocking your view, and whether a seating area includes amenities or is better for families.

You’ll also read my well-considered and honest opinions…about the Green Monster seats at Fenway Park (not worth the price, at least as far as the view), the bleachers at Wrigley Field (the best outfield seats in baseball, but not always great for kids), or the party areas at Miller Park (Milwaukee natives LOVE baseball).

Last but certainly not least: there’s a bunch of other stuff too…you’ll know every way to get to the ballpark, you’ll know all about the great food items available at the game, and how to save money on all of it!

Imagine you’re going to a place you’ve never been, you have a lot of questions about almost everything and you know almost nothing about it. Now, imagine you find someone that put together practically everything you want to know and also helps you to save some money!!!

That’s Kurt Smith and Ballpark E-Guides I’m talking about!

So, if you want to know how to get to the ballpark and easily find a spot to put your car, this is your website; if you want to know where find the best food for the lowest price, Kurt is the man; if you want to know where are the best seats (including where the shadow is gonna be first!) and the places TO NOT SIT, don’t waste your time and buy one!
– Francisco Campos – Belo Horizonte – Brazil
Click here to read the full text of this review

own a ballpark e-guide

 

A Complete, Profoundly Helpful Guide To Ballpark Seating…And Much More. For Less Than A Fin.

You spend a sizable chunk of your hard-earned money for baseball tickets. You deserve to know exactly what you’re getting and whether it’s right for you…and for your budget.

As I think you now know from reading this, when you read a Ballpark E-Guide, you’ll learn plenty of things that teams don’t want you to know about all of the seating in the ballpark.

So then…here’s the million-dollar question again…

Do you want to get the best seats for your money and your preferences at the ballgame?

guide-to-pnc-park

Find your perfect baseball seats NOW!

Then let me handle the hours of research, circling the ballpark, and photo-taking (yes, I need a life), and download the complete guide eBook to your favorite ballpark NOW for the amazing low price of just $4.99.

And if you’d like to read the nicely compact, beautifully illustrated print edition NOW for just $7.99 plus shipping, I’ll throw in the eBook at no extra charge.

You can give the print edition as a gift to your favorite baseball fan, and keep the eBook for yourself. I won’t tell. You can even include tickets for great seats with your gift…and you’ll know what kind of seats to get!

By the way, don’t forget to sign up for the cool and free Ballpark E-Guides newsletter too…you’ll get some great insider knowledge at various ballparks, a cool Tip of The Week, deals on the already value-friendly Ballpark E-Guides, and a free eBook, with a list of my favorite helpful websites for traveling baseball fans. All at no charge whatsoever.

And when you’re ready to learn how to pick the best seats at the ballpark, get yourself the most detailed ballpark resource out there now…and never forget your sunglasses again!

See you at the Yard!

Best,
Kurt

Baseball Parking, And Other Expensive Hassles

Posted by Kurt Smith

Remember when baseball parking wasn’t a significant part of your entertainment budget? No, I don’t either.

And doesn’t the traffic in and out and overpriced baseball parking get exasperating?

If you’re like most fans, you park in team lots at the ballpark, accepting whatever the cost is. Maybe you can find something a couple bucks cheaper, but no one has time to search around in ballpark traffic.

In downtown big city ballparks especially, parking can be scarce and expensive, and traffic hassles are so annoying, that fans would rather use public transit and stand in a packed train car.

But as you can see every time you look out at full parking lots, thousands of fans tolerate this at every baseball game. Many times, people just don’t know better and cheaper ways to get there.

Wouldn’t you love to know about ALL your options…including where to park cheaply (sometimes even free!) or for an easy out, ways to avoid traffic, what public transit works best, even nearby restaurants that will give you a lift to the game? Or even unusual or romantic ways, like a pedicab or a ferry?

Isn’t being a smart fan and knowing that secret parking spot a great feeling?

If your answer is something like: “You mean I’m not required by law to spend the equivalent of a car payment just to park at a ballgame?”…

…then read every word of this post.

“Kurt Smith has left no stone unturned. From transportation to seat selection to food and drink and where to get the best deals, you can find the answer in his Ballpark E-Guides.”
– Scott Ableman, Let Teddy Win
Click here to read more rave reviews

 

Ever Pay $40 To Park AND Miss The First Inning?

One of the many things I’ve researched thoroughly here is the numerous ways to get to a ballpark…by car, public transit, shuttles, buses, boats, bicycles, whatever. Whether you’re going alone, with friends, impressing a date or bringing the kids, there is a great option for you.

I’ve learned how to avoid common pitfalls too. You can do better than some of these examples…

baseball parking ample parkjing cbp

“No, please, after you.”

Baseball Parking Pitfall #1: It takes a while…sometimes a long while…to exit this lot in Philly after the game. Nothing like staying alert and motionless in your car seat, waiting another minute for the next car to exit…I know there are other things I’d rather be doing.

 

baseball parking 60 dollar parking

Um…no.

Baseball Parking Pitfall #2: Would you believe this lot was more than a half mile away from Fenway? Might it dampen your enthusiasm for live baseball as you walk out with three fewer twenties in your wallet? That’s a couple of souvenir stuffed animals for the kids and at least one beer, but no…I had to park instead.

 

baseball parking alt route yankee

Then you have to actually cross the bridge…

Baseball Parking Pitfall #3: If you’re driving, you should know alternate routes to get to any ballpark, especially about an hour before game time. You’ve already paid for tickets to be at the game…don’t be stuck in your car, listening to the first pitch on the radio.

 

baseball parking towing fenway

The amazing thing is that someone with American license plates parked on Lansdowne Street on game day.

Baseball Parking Pitfall #4: You don’t want to be this guy, obviously. Have you seen the fines for parking wrong in Boston? If you think Red Sox tickets are expensive…

 

baseball parking 7 train

“Really, it’ll be fun! Who’s John Rocker?”

Baseball Parking Pitfall #5: OK, it doesn’t involve parking, but just saying…my wife has never been fond of standing on trains, especially when we go on vacation. I kinda don’t blame her. Public transit is useful and cheap, but some trains are better than others.

 

baseball parking kenmore crowd

I’m guessing there won’t be an open seat on this train.

Baseball Parking Pitfall #6: This isn’t about parking either, but you’ll probably rather pay $50 to park than be in this line at a ticket machine…and there’s always someone in front of you who’s never used it. Don’t get mad, you keep muttering to yourself, they’ll eventually ask someone for help. Been there? Me too.

I have no doubt that, if you’re a baseball fan, you’ve dealt with all of those annoyances…overpaying for parking, searching for a lot at 2 MPH in ballpark traffic, sitting in a parking lot for what seems like hours after the game, standing on the crowded train car, and did I mention overpaying for parking?

“The Progressive Field E-Guide provides good information on the numerous seating and food options throughout the facility. Outside of the facility, there is a significant amount of space pertaining to parking options, perfect for a Ballpark Chaser like myself who wants inexpensive parking, and not just team-sanctioned parking options available through team websites.”
– Matt Nelson, Ballparks of The Midwest
Click here to read more rave reviews

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You Can Beat The System.

Before I started doing this, I never bothered to spend time in Philly or Baltimore searching for better spots to park. Who has the time? Nor did I consider that I could actually drive and park for a game at Fenway or Wrigley without losing my shirt or my mind in post-game traffic. It’s tricky enough just getting to the game, so most fans…myself included for many years…just stay with the tried and true route.

But once I started learning more about these things, finding transportation alternatives was just one of the tricks that caused me many “kick myself in the head” moments…especially at how much money I had been wasting.

But now that it’s my job to give you the pros and cons of ALL of your transportation choices at a game, I’m a whole lot wiser.

Here are some things I do differently these days…

 

baseball parking patco

Either way works.

Baseball Parking Alternative #1: If I’m flying solo for a Phillies game, I save on tolls and parking now by using the PATCO-SEPTA combination to Citizens Bank Park from South Jersey. PATCO-SEPTA round trip as of this writing: $9.10. Toll and parking: $23. That’s $14 to spend on crab fries (with cheese!) and a Federal Donut! Best of all, I’m not stuck in the parking lot waiting for everyone to exit.

In cities like Philly and Baltimore where people drive to the ballpark, public transit trains are nowhere near as packed. (I know cheap and free parking spots in Philly too, but for big attendance nights I’d rather avoid the traffic.)

 

baseball parking MTA light rail

The ballpark is, like, right there.

Baseball Parking Alternative #2: I knew about the Light Rail in Baltimore, and most Baltimoreans do obviously, but I didn’t know how much money and aggravation I’d save with it. I park in Lutherville or Timonium for free, spend $3.40 on a round-trip ticket, avoid the ungodly frustrating Baltimore city gridlock, and get dropped off literally at the Camden Yards gate. To park that close would be at least $20. That $16.60 can buy me a big burger, peanuts and a few bottled waters at Pickles with some cash left over…what would you rather spend your money on?

Again, I know where to park cheaply at the Yard too, but Baltimore traffic really, really rots.

“Look, Kurt,” you say, “everyone knows they save money with public transit to a game”. Yes, maybe. (I didn’t!)

But it gets better. Try chewing on this:

 

baseball parking 100 clarendon street

So secret is this spot I’m giving you the address!

Baseball Parking Alternative #3: I’ve parked for just $11 for a game at Fenway Park, when many lots go for upwards of $50. It’s a hike from here, but if you don’t want to walk, you can take a Commuter Rail train from here to a station just 500 feet from the ballpark for $4.50 round trip. At $15.50, (or $20 for two people) you’re still way ahead of people who pay $50 to park that close. Imagine having $30 more to spend inside Fenway, without having to walk any further to get to your car.

 

baseball parking wrigley four blocks

There are, actually, free spots closer than this.

Baseball Parking Alternative #4: You can park for free at Wrigley Field, where some lots can be as high as $60. Read that again, I’ll wait…park for free at Wrigley Field! Seriously, you can be the life of the party when you casually let slip that you parked for free at Wrigley Field once.

 

baseball parking kellys bleachers

“So what do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?”

Baseball Parking Alternative #5: You can park without paying a cent at a tavern in Milwaukee and have the nice folks there give you a free ride to a game at Miller Park. All I had to do in my last visit was order some wings, and they were perfectly good…and cheaper than most ballpark food items.

There are dozens of Milwaukee restaurants and bars that do this…you can have a great meal, whatever your dining preference and save money on both food and parking. And it’s great fun.

 

baseball parking comerica

The view from a spot I paid $2 for. True.

Baseball Parking Alternative #6: I’ve parked for just $2 across the street from Comerica Park in Detroit. This is literally the view from where I parked, again, for just $2. Normally this would be about $25. (In fairness, I exploited a garage rate loophole by accident…but it was a pleasant surprise!) This was a long time ago, but I believe you can still do it today. Hockeytown and Cheli’s bars are right here…and you’d have $23 extra to spend on it with this trick.

 

baseball parking gateway clipper pnc

If the batter really crushes one, you still won’t be anywhere near it.

Baseball Parking Alternative #7: Want to go romantic or fun? I’m planning to take my kids on a ferry ride to a Pirates game, but if it doesn’t work out, I can always stay in downtown Pittsburgh and ride the T to the ballpark for free.

Whether you want to save a bunch of money on parking, avoid traffic, join a pre-game party at a nearby tavern, bring the kids, impress a date, whatever — when you read a Ballpark E-Guide, you’ll learn ALL of your options for getting to the game…including where to park cheaply (sometimes even for free!) or for an easy out, what trains or buses work best, unusual ways to get there like ferries or pedicabs, and which local restaurants feature great ballpark shuttles.

“This e-guide is a great companion to have with you…It really does answer every question you might have about buying a ticket, getting to the ballpark, and seeing all there is to see at the stadium.”
– Martin Gandy, Talking Chop
Click here to read more rave reviews

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Because Getting There Can Be Half The Fun!

If you’re going to drive to a game, pick a decent parking spot ahead of time…one that won’t cost too much and offers a relatively easy out. And have a backup plan, by the way, because you might need it. I speak from experience.

Or let a local tavern drive you to the game, and enjoy cheaper food and drinks, and make a fun day of it.

And maybe public transit is the best option to get to some ballparks, but there are other alternatives. Want to impress a date? Take a boat or pedicab to the game…you can do that at several ballparks. Or if you need some exercise, rent a bicycle, which you can also do in quite a few cities now.

Since you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you’re curious to know just how many parking and transit options you really have at the ballgame. I’ll bet that you’ll be as surprised as I was.

“I was pleasantly surprised…really well done…there is nothing worse than going to a new environment and leaving feeling like you missed something. From where to sit, how to get there and what to eat when you’re there, these guides meticulously detail each of these and more.”
– Joe Aiello, The View From The Bleachers
Click here to read more rave reviews

own a ballpark e-guide

 

Find Out All This Stuff, And Much More…For Less Than Five Bucks.

So then…I’ll ask again…

Do you really want to know about ALL the ways to get to your home ballpark, or a ballpark you’re planning to visit in the future? And, of course, how to save money for souvenirs or food?

Then take advantage of all of the research and leg work that yours truly has already done. Download a nicely illustrated, information-packed Ballpark E-Guide NOW for the amazing price of just $4.99.

For less than the cost of a beer or sandwich at the game (which you’ll now be able to afford!), you’ll find out all the tips and tricks that the insider fans know about getting to the ballpark. You’ll save money, experience less hassle, and even find out about how getting there can be half the fun.

Oh, almost forgot…(almost done, I promise!)

You’ll find a ton of insider knowledge about everything else, too…like how to get the best deals on tickets, what to know about all of the seating areas, even the complete rundown of the food, both inside and outside of the ballpark.

guide-to-yankee-stadium

Get your ballgame on now!

Again, all for just $4.99! Crazy, right?

Or better yet…you can order the beautifully illustrated, nicely compact and slick-papered print edition NOW for just $7.99 plus shipping…and you’ll get the $4.99 eBook at no extra charge.

Give the print version as a gift to your favorite baseball fan…the gift of money-saving knowledge…and keep the eBook for yourself. Everyone wins!

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already done so, be sure to sign up for the absolutely free Ballpark E-Guides newsletter…and receive helpful tricks, a Tip of The Week, discounts on already value-friendly Ballpark E-Guides, and my commentary on any news that matters to baseball fans in your inbox. Nice photos, too.

See you at the Yard!

Best,
Kurt

Ballpark Food: What Will You Eat At The Game?

Posted by Kurt Smith

Ballpark food, as you well know I’m sure, is priced just above the point of being unreasonable.

On top of that, there are so many choices at the ballpark that you often get that sense of missing out on something. Not to mention the lines at some stands…is the Shackburger or Tony Luke’s sandwich really worth the wait?

Wouldn’t you love to know ahead of time what you can choose from at the ballpark before your next visit? To know what all of those food stands are? Or even know some places outside where you can get cheaper sandwiches or peanuts?

The fun but troubling decision of what to eat applies to every ballpark, but I’ll use Citizens Bank Park, my home ballpark, as an example.

Let’s say you’re coming to see some Philadelphia baseball for the first time. Here’s just a few questions you might be asking yourself about the food selection:

 

Another Philly institution.

Ballpark Food Question #1: You’ve probably seen Tony Luke’s cheesesteaks on the Food Network, but who is Campo’s? What’s different about their cheesesteaks…are they any better?

 

bulls bbq citizens bank park

The pictures don’t do the Bull Dog justice.

Ballpark Food Question #2: I know I can shake Greg “The Bull” Luzinski’s hand here, but how good is his BBQ? What is that “Bull Dog”?

 

You don’t get this many bonus fries with your order, FYI.

Ballpark Food Question #3: Why are so many people walking around with cups of “Crabfries”? What’s in that cheese sauce?

 

Have you ever seen such a perfectly sized donut?

Ballpark Food Question #4: What is a Federal Donut, and why would someone eat donuts with fried chicken?

 

If you’ve never had tofu croutons, you’re really missing out.

Ballpark Food Question #5: What’s good at Harry The K’s that makes it worth the wait in line? Could it really be that “vegan cheesesteak”?

 

South Philly = great sandwiches.

Ballpark Food Question #6: Seasons Pizza? Wayback Burgers? Hatfield hot dogs? Turkey Hill ice cream? Well-known names to locals. But if you’re visiting Philly, you probably aren’t that familiar with them.

 

Don’t let that homemade pasta distract you.

Ballpark Food Question #7: If you’re low on funds, is there a place nearby to get a decent sandwich to bring in? (That’s subjective, of course…but my answer is yes, there is.)

The information provided is great for first-time visitors to the ballpark, but it also includes a lot for the more experienced fans as well…after reading the guide, I discovered many food options that sounded interesting and may prompt me to expand my horizons a bit. There are also “Tightwad Tips” throughout the E-Guide to help you find creative ways to save money.” –
Jenn Zambri, Phillies Phollowers
Click here for more rave reviews

 

Decisions, Decisions…

Every time you go to a game, you have to grapple with what you’re going to eat…because there are so many great selections, you only have so much stomach space, and you’re going to shell out a few bucks. All teams list on their website the food that’s available, but they don’t say much beyond that.

At some ballparks, you even have to make selections within selections.

There are four types of brats at Miller Park in Milwaukee, five types of cheesesteaks at Citizens Bank Park in Philly, four burger stands at Citi Field in New York, and at Nationals Park in D.C., you can choose between Hatfield sausages, Ben’s Chili Bowl Half-Smokes, or the intriguing Haute Dogs. They’re all good…but they’re all different.

Fans usually don’t know the difference…because by the time you’re in the concourse, you’re probably too hungry to Google what makes each stand special, right?

Speaking of shelling out a few bucks, most every team allows fans to bring food into the ballpark, and many ballparks have plentiful outside vendors and popular sandwich shops nearby. And that is a huge money-saver.

“The Rogers Centre E-Guide is perfect for casual fans, diehard fans and everyone in between…The attention to detail is ridiculous and the Tightwad Tips included in the guide are sure to help me cut down spending. Whether you be a tourist or a season ticket holder, I strongly recommend this guide.”
– Lucan Coutts, Blue Jays Nation
Click here for more rave reviews

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“Next Time You’re In Cleveland, You Have To Try The…”

Here is something I’ve learned in my years of researching 15 major league ballparks…

Every ballpark now has an impressive menu of food choices…not just imaginative variations on hot dogs, but also sausages, burgers, pizzas, BBQ sandwiches, nachos, fries, even things like tacos, dumplings, and veggie burgers. And there’s no shortage of funnel cakes, cupcakes, ice cream and Italian ice for dessert. And craft beers.

Better yet, each ballpark has a few stands showcasing local favorites, which I love to see.

Progressive Field in Cleveland has Barrio tacos, Melt grilled cheese sandwiches, Happy Dogs, and Fat Head’s deli sandwiches…among MANY others. Citizens Bank Park features Tony Luke’s and Campo’s cheesesteaks, Federal Donuts, and Chickie’s and Pete’s crab fries. Citi Field? Fuku chicken sandwiches, Pig Guy bacon on a stick, Mama’s of Corona subs, Two Boots pizza and Pat LaFrieda filet mignon sandwiches.

I could go on. All day. But you get it. Baseball teams are saving you the trouble of finding those popular and iconic city joints that foodies like me love in cities.

You can eat very well at a ballpark these days, and you can enjoy a great taste of the city…if you plan ahead.

A must have for any fan planning a visit. Whether you’re a regular or a first timer, you will find everything you need to know. I had never been to the park before, but after reading the E-Guide, the season ticket holders in front of me thought I was an expert. Kurt really knows his stuff!”
– Conrad Klank, Stadium Journey Correspondent
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You Can Get WHAT On Your Dog?

When I go to a game, I’d like to know not only what all of those food stands are selling, but what’s unique about them…is it a local eatery? What toppings can I get on my footlong dog? Are the sandwiches really made by a gourmet chef? Are there alternatives to waiting in that line? Should I get extra cheese?

And if I’m trying to save cash, where can I get quality ballpark grub outside to bring in?

That’s why I’ve painstakingly researched the selection of food at 15 different ballparks, gathered as many tasty-looking photos as I could, and put every bit of info I could find in Ballpark E-Guides.

Whenever I go to a game now, I know ahead of time what I’m going to get to eat…and not only can I look forward to some great grub, I can budget accordingly.

It all adds to the excitement of going to the ballpark…having a great meal and enjoying the greatest game ever invented.

“Kurt lists guides to transportation, parking and seating, as well as food and drink, and gives you some cost-saving tips. For Yankee Stadium, and other ballparks, whether you are an experienced fan or a first-time visitor, his guides are well worth it. Check them out.”
– Mike Sommer, The Sommer Frieze
Click here for more rave reviews

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Cookbooks Need Pictures. So Do Ballpark Guides.

My copywriting expert tells me that I should include “mouth-watering bullets” in my posts, so here are some zesty pictures of some of my ballpark food favorites, which I think pass the mouth-watering test. Some of them are underrated gems…little secret insider fan favorites that are overshadowed by the big names, but feature much shorter lines.

visiting nationals Park bens chili

Freaking look at this. Is that artwork or what?

Kurt’s Ballpark Food Favorites #1: The Ben’s Chili Half-Smoke at Nationals Park in Washington. A true taste of D.C., with a spicy sausage slathered in Ben’s unique chili and melted cheese. I told my brother about it and he ordered one. Later that day he ordered another one.

 

Spicier than it looks. And it looks pretty spicy.

Kurt’s Ballpark Food Favorites #2: The Campo’s “Heater” chicken cheesesteak at Citizens Bank Park in Philly. Great for cheesesteak lovers, great for spicy food lovers, great for everything but first dates. Yes, Campo’s is as good as Tony Luke’s, in my humble but well-considered opinion.

 

yankee stadium food garlic fries

Don’t forget that “drizzled” olive oil.

Kurt’s Ballpark Food Favorites #3: The garlic fries at Yankee Stadium in New York. You can smell them in the concourse walking by. Just bits of minced garlic and olive oil on crispy fries. Simple yet perfection. Don’t get these on a date though, unless you’re sharing…in which case, definitely get them.

 

food at citi field pressed grilled cheese

A talented chef can turn the simple grilled cheese into a masterpiece.

Kurt’s Ballpark Food Favorites #4: The over the top Pressed grilled cheese a subway ride away at Citi Field. Thick slices of buttered, crusty bread with a layer of arugula and three types of gooey cheese. When a top chef makes a grilled cheese sandwich, this is what you’d expect.

 

ballpark food barrio nachos

I’ll never go back to 7-Eleven nachos.

Kurt’s Ballpark Food Favorites #5: The chips were salty, but the Barrio people in Cleveland make a terrific plate of nachos. This puppy had chunks of chorizo, shredded cheddar AND queso, and all of the essential toppings that make nachos special. And not bad value at all for a ballpark, incidentally.

 

Great American Ball Park food skyline coney

And now it’s time for another round of “Find the hot dog!”

Kurt’s Ballpark Food Favorites #6: The folks in Cincinnati stay tried and true to the Skyline chili cheese Coney. It’s economical, so people usually get two…small hot dogs smothered with Cincinnati-style chili and a nice-sized mound of cheddar. If you haven’t tried Cincinnati chili, you should plan to.

 

This is what you do in Maryland.

Kurt’s Ballpark Food Favorites #7: I’ve also found some cool outside vendor grub too…like the jumbo crab cake sandwich at the Pickles Pub patio outside of Camden Yards. I can almost hear Homer Simpson complaining about insufficient tartar sauce on the side…

 

The trick in making such a claim is to make “caramel corn” one word.

Kurt’s Ballpark Food Favorites #8: Not to mention great places with stuff to put in a goodie bag to snack on during the game…like the ubiquitous “Nuts on Clark” popcorn a short walk from Wrigley Field.

“I have made many trips to Citi over the last two seasons and can say that Smith has nailed every detail and aspect of the Mets’ home…From parking to the best food choices, the Citi Field E-Guide covers it all.”
– Steve Sidoti, 7 Train To Shea
Click here for more rave reviews

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Because Our Ballgame Budget Is Limited.

In all modesty, and I could be wrong, but I don’t think you’ll find a better source for the complete lowdown of the available food at a ballpark…right down to what makes the beef tastier and lines longer. If you love to eat at the game but have trouble deciding what to get with your hard-earned cash, a Ballpark E-Guide is for you.

So here’s that question again…

Do you want to know all about the food stands at your home ballpark? Or at your favorite rival ballpark? Are you eager to know what the locals love at a ballpark you plan to visit?

And do you even want to know where to find cheaper outside vendors you can patronize?

Then leave the considerable advance research and leg work to me, and get all the info you need when you download a Ballpark E-Guide NOW for the amazingly low price of just $4.99.

Guide to Citi Field

Get your ballgame grub on!

Incidentally, Ballpark E-Guides aren’t just about food…you’ll find out how to get the best deals on tickets, how to find the best seats for your taste and budget, how to get to the ballpark easily and cheaply, and of course, how to save money on all of it!

All of that useful, insightful knowledge…and tasty looking pictures of ballpark food…again, all for just $4.99!

By the way, we offer print editions too…you can order the slick-papered, compact yet hugely useful, and colorfully illustrated print edition NOW for just $7.99 plus shipping…and get the eBook at no extra charge.

Give the print edition as a great gift for your favorite baseball fan, and keep the eBook for yourself…and you’ll both know exactly what you’ll be eating at your next game!

Thanks for reading, and if you haven’t already done so, be sure to sign up for the absolutely free Ballpark E-Guides newsletter…and receive helpful tricks, a Tip of The Week, discounts on already value-friendly Ballpark E-Guides, and my commentary on any news that matters to baseball fans in your inbox. Nice photos, too.

See you at the Yard!

Best,
Kurt

Four Tips For Finding Cheap Orioles Tickets

Posted by Kurt Smith

So you’re looking for cheap Orioles tickets? Well, when you read the Oriole Park at Camden Yards E-Guide, you’ll definitely know how to get the best deal for O’s tix.

But I know you came here for the info, so here are a few tips to get you started:

 

cheap orioles tickets box office

My bank isn’t even open on Sundays!

Cheap Orioles Tickets, Tip #1: Use The Box Office. Orioles games rarely sell out, especially during the week. Red Sox, Yankees, and Nationals games draw bigger crowds of course, but in most cases you should be able to walk up to the box office even on game day and pick up whatever seats suit your taste. There are no ticket fees at the box office, so you save a considerable amount of cash.

You might have to stand in line a bit, but the wait isn’t usually long.

(continued below)

Are You Spending $183.34* For One Orioles Game?
*Average cost for a family of four in 2016.

You can do better. Click the image to find out how.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards guide

cheap orioles tickets kids club

It’s only six games now, but the team is a little better.

Cheap Orioles Tickets, Tip #2: Join The Club. If you’d like to take the kids, especially for more than one game, you should definitely have them join the Junior Orioles Dugout Club first. For a small fee your little one gets tickets to a few games, and membership includes discounts on additional tickets. Well worth the fee, and the kids get lanyards and lunchboxes and stuff too.

 

cheap orioles tickets blood drive

And donate blood to fellow Baltimoreans.

Cheap Orioles Tickets, Tip #3: Give Blood Or Something. As of this writing, the Orioles on occasion will host a blood drive with the Red Cross. Donors usually receive two tickets and a T-shirt for their troubles. You can find out when a blood drive will be happening by checking the “Community” section of the O’s website. Get game tickets and help your fellow human. Win-win.

 

cheap orioles tickets seatgeek

Click the image to find deals on Orioles tickets. Truly.

Cheap Orioles Tickets, Tip #4: Try SeatGeek. SeatGeek is a favorite third party seller of mine, and I’m not just saying that because they’re an affiliate. I almost always find the best third party deals there, and it’s the first place I go to find cheap Orioles tickets. Click here to find Orioles tickets on SeatGeek.

There you go, four helpful tips to help you save money on Orioles tickets and use the extra cash for waffle fries. If you’d like to know more ways to save mucho dinero on tickets, parking and everything else at Oriole Park, be sure to order the Oriole Park at Camden Yards E-Guide today!

(SeatGeek logo courtesy of SeatGeek.)

 

More about Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

Visiting Camden Yards – Five Tips For Newbies

Three Cheap Parking Options at Camden Yards

Three Camden Yards Food Items: Crab Stuff!

 

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Citizens Bank Park Parking – Three Cheaper Options

Posted by Kurt Smith

Finding Citizens Bank Park parking for a Phillies game isn’t terribly difficult; it is built in a sports complex that allows for ample parking, even for multiple events.

Saving money parking at a Phillies game is a little bit more of a challenge, though. So here are three decent and less expensive alternatives to the official Phillies lots, for you the cheap fan. (And remember, there’s plenty more where that came from.)

 

citizens bank park parking holiday inn

Just so you know what the building looks like.

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #1) The Holiday Inn. North of the ballpark across the street from Phillies Lot W, there is a small amount of spaces on the west side of the hotel. You might need to get there early, but they’re a few bucks cheaper than Lot W, it isn’t any farther away, and as far as I know you can tailgate there. It’s a fairly easy out onto Packer Avenue too.

The Holiday Inn restaurant sometimes has game day specials; they used to deduct the cost of parking from your meal if you ate there but I don’t believe they do anymore. Still, wouldn’t hurt to call and ask if there are any specials.

(continued below)

Own the Ultimate Insider Fan’s Guide to Citizens Bank Park TODAY…
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Guide to Citizens Bank Park

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citizens bank park parking jetro

The difference is clear. And the walk isn’t much further.

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #2) The Jetro Warehouse. You would actually have to go south of the warehouse to get the cheap rate, but it’s significantly less, there’s decent tailgating here, and there’s a small breakfast and lunch eatery here called the Stadium Grille, a place that gets good reviews for their cheesesteaks if you want a cheap meal before the game. It’s a bit of a walk and not pretty to look at, but good if you want to save a few bucks.

 

citizens bank park parking cheaper

Stone construction makes the lot look safe for parking.

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #3) The Church Lot on 10th Street. I don’t know the name of this church or even if it is a church (Google Maps is no help here), but it looks like one so I’m running with it. This lot is on 10th Street, north of Packer Avenue and just north of the I-76 overpass. If you look at Google Maps, it’s across the street from a football field. Easy to find.

Parking here is a few bucks cheaper than the aforementioned Holiday Inn lot. It’s a little further away and you have to cross an intersection, but the walk isn’t too bad and you can see the inside of the ballpark as you approach, which is nice. This one is also an easy out onto Packer Avenue.

 

Those are three less expensive alternatives for parking at Citizens Bank Park, but you have lots of other options to get there, like the Broad Street Line or the Taxi Crab. Whatever your taste, you can figure out what you need with this handy little guide to the ballpark.

 

More About Citizens Bank Park:

Visiting Citizens Bank Park – Five Tips For Newbies

How I Saved $75 at Citizens Bank Park

Five Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks

 

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Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!
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Cheap Parking at Camden Yards – Three Spots

Posted by Kurt Smith

What you pay for Camden Yards parking at Orioles games generally depends on where you’re coming from…spots north of the ballpark tend to command a higher price, being closer to the nightlife and more ritzy hotels. So if you’d like to go cheap parking at Camden Yards, and go for an easier out too, here are a few south of the ballpark choices for you:

 

cheap parking at camden yards orioles lots

Don’t be confused by the alphabet soup. Use F, G, or H.

Cheap Parking at Camden Yards, Spot #1) Orioles Lots F, G, and H. You can actually book spots ahead of time in Orioles Lots B and C close to the ballpark fairly cheaply, if you do it well enough ahead of time…do that if you can…but Lots F, G, and H near the Ravens’ stadium tend to be the cheapest choices, and they’re not too far away. You can even use the Light Rail one stop to the ballpark if you want to shorten the walk.

(continued below)

Are You Spending $183.34* For One Orioles Game?
*Average cost for a family of four in 2016.

You can do better. Click the image to find out how.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards guide

 

cheap parking at camden yards horseshoe casino

No, the valet parking isn’t any closer to the ballpark.

Cheap Parking at Camden Yards, Spot #2) The Horseshoe Casino. The Horseshoe is about a mile walk from Camden Yards, and you probably wouldn’t want to walk it at night. But for day games, a free parking spot in an attended garage works well, and the walk isn’t too bad…Google calls it at about 18 minutes. No light rail near the casino yet, unfortunately.

 

cheap parking at camden yards banditos

Mexican food and Orioles baseball. Your day is complete.

Cheap Parking at Camden Yards, Spot #3) Bandito’s Bar. Bandito’s is a Federal Hill institution that recently started offering rides to patrons going to Orioles and Ravens games, and you can park on the street nearby free of charge. It’s actually about as long a walk as the Horseshoe if you don’t want to get a meal beforehand, but Bandito’s gets pretty good reviews, they have daily food and drink specials, and you get a a free ride.

There’s three Camden Yards parking options that won’t break your bank at your next O’s game, but there’s plenty of other ways to get to Oriole Park, including buses, boats and bicycles…if you want to pick the best route for you, get yourself this handy little guide!

Photo of Bandito’s shuttle courtesy of Bandito’s Bar.

More about Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

Visiting Camden Yards – Five Tips For Newbies

Three More Camden Yards Food Options (Crab Stuff!)

Camden Yards Seating – Two Tips

 

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Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

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More Camden Yards Food Options – Crab Stuff!

Posted by Kurt Smith

I’ve covered a few Camden Yards food options…you can learn about a bit about the Yard’s menu here, but Oriole Park is still in Maryland last time I looked, so crab stuff is pretty popular here. Enough to devote a separate post to it.

Here are three more favorite Camden Yards food options of mine, just because I love Old Bay…

 

camden yards food options waffle fries

The Old Bay addition makes it Orioles colors!

1) Crab Dip Waffle Fries. This is a pretty big go-to item for Orioles fans. If you’re familiar with the Chick-Fil-A waffle fries (and who isn’t?), they’re like them, but topped with Maryland crab dip sauce, and you can shake on some Old Bay seasoning at a condiment stand. Get them at Freestate Fries or the Flying Dog stands, and get a fork…you’ll thank me.

 

camden yards food options crab chipper

Check out those scallions!

2) The Crab Chipper. The Chipper stand has become one of the more popular Camden Yards food options now since its arrival in 2015 – and this Crab Chipper features kettle chips (or pork rinds!) topped with crab meat, white cheddar, green onions and Old Bay…so they’re, you know, kind of like fancy nachos. It’s a decent quantity of food too, especially if you get them in a souvenir helmet.

(continued below)

Are You Spending $183.34* For One Orioles Game?
*Average cost for a family of four in 2016.

You can do better. Click the image to find out how.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards guide

 

camden yards food options crab cake

The Official State Fish of Maryland.

3) The Old Bay Seafood Crab Cake. I remember in the early days of Oriole Park watching a friend of mine shell out $4 for a crab cake the size of a golf ball. Hope he enjoyed it. Today the crab cakes may be more expensive, but they’re now appropriately baseball-sized and much tastier – the Orioles had a chef sample 50 local crab cakes (!) to come up with a recipe for this OPACY delicacy. Hopefully not at once.

 

camden yards food options jumbo crab cake sandwich

You gonna eat that?

4) Bonus Option! The Jumbo Crab Cake Sandwich at the Pickles tent. I don’t know if it’s actually Pickles Pub that serves up this tasty sandwich in the big food tents they set up outside before each game. But the nice thing is getting a decent-sized crab cake sandwich for a few bucks less than inside…get it wrapped up and take it in.

There you go…three crab-tasty Camden Yards food options, with an extra base thrown in at no additional charge.

Want the full lowdown on all of the eats at Camden Yards, with lots of other great tips? Stop wishing and order this handy guide to Oriole Park!

 

More about Oriole Park at Camden Yards:

Visiting Camden Yards – Five Tips For Newbies

Camden Yards Parking – Three Cheap Spots

Can You Bring Food Into Camden Yards?

 

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FREE eBook for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

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Parking Near Rogers Centre – Three “Green P” Spots

Posted by Kurt Smith

I highly recommend against driving and parking near Rogers Centre for Blue Jays games. If you don’t have to, don’t. But if you must, try using one of the “Green P” lots.

The Green P lots in Toronto, including the ones for parking near Rogers Centre, are owned by the city and as such offer better rates than most. As far as I can tell, none of them charge “event” rates. Here are my top three picks for a night at the ballpark:

parking near rogers centre green p 40 york

This is a pretty nice evening rate for baseball parking.

Green P Lot #1) 40 York Street. I’ll probably get some grief for sharing this favorite spot of fans, but it’s probably the best deal that you’ll find for parking near Rogers Centre. It’s not only cheaper, but the event rate kicks in at 5:00, unlike 6:00 for most lots, so you don’t have to time your arrival so much. It’s a convenient spot too, especially coming from the east.

(continued below)

Own the Ultimate Insider Fan’s Guide to Rogers Centre TODAY…
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parking near rogers centre green p 10 portland

With a helpful arrow.

Green P Lot #2) 10 Portland Street. The night rate starts at 6:00 PM for this one, but it’s still fairly convenient at about a half mile from the ballpark, for a ten minute walk, and this one offers a relatively easy out going westbound.

 

parking near rogers centre green p 2 church

“Municipal” means good rates!

Green P Lot #3) 2 Church Street. If you can’t score a spot at 40 York, this one isn’t bad coming from the east. It’s got over 2,000 spaces and has cheap nightly rates, including a Saturday special of $1/hour for the first two hours. So on Saturday especially you can arrive plenty early for a good spot and still pay a small fee to park for the evening.

One caution about the 40 York and 2 Church Street lots: these are both close to the Air Canada Centre, home of both the Maple Leafs and Raptors. I strongly recommend checking first to see if there is an event there before going…if there is, get there very early or use public transit.

There are other good options for parking near Rogers Centre, but I would advise that you try Green P first, especially if you can walk a little bit.

Incidentally, if you want to know the best way to get to Rogers Centre for every situation, try consulting this handy little guide.

More About Rogers Centre:

Visiting Rogers Centre – Five Tips For Newbies

The Best Way To Get To Rogers Centre

Rogers Centre Food: Three Things To Try

 

Ballpark E-Guides free ebook

FREE eBook for traveling baseball fans! (That would be you.)

Do you love to visit ballparks and see live baseball? Subscribe to the Ballpark E-Guides e-mail newsletter today, and fill your scorecard with useful and entertaining info about your favorite ballparks, money-saving “tips of the week” for frugal fans, and of course, specials on the incredibly informative Ballpark E-Guides!

You’ll also score this eBook, listing some of Kurt’s favorite sites for traveling baseball fans, absolutely free of charge…just for stepping up to the plate and subscribing.

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Progressive Field Parking – Three Swell Spots

Posted by Kurt Smith

The Progressive Field parking layout is sufficient enough to handle most Indians games – although you should probably use the RTA if the Cavaliers are in town. For most games, though, you have plenty of choices for cheap and/or convenient parking.

Here are three favorites I’ve found, each suitable for its own situation…

 

progressive field parking gateway east garage

We’re working on the rest of the arrows.

Progressive Field Parking, Tip #1) The Gateway East Garage. This garage is right across Larry Doby Way from the ballpark, and for the convenience it’s reasonably priced (and cheaper than most East 9th St. lots). Just get there early, or book your spot ahead of time especially if you anticipate a big crowd at the game.

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progressive field parking tower city garage

Always makes a great landmark.

Progressive Field Parking, Tip #2) The Tower City Garage. Tower City is a bit of a walk from the ballpark, but most of it is a covered walkway for RTA users that are dropped off at Tower City, so weather shouldn’t be a problem. It’s cheap and an easy out after the game, and nearby restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe will pick up some of the tab for you if you eat there.

 

Progressive field parking flat iron cafe

Cleveland’s oldest Irish pub, no doubt because they take people to Indians games.

Progressive Field Parking, Tip #3) The Flat Iron Cafe. You can park for free on the street at the Flatty, as locals call it, or use the very inexpensive lot nearby. At the Flatty you can have a decent meal and ride their shuttle to the ballpark and back. Great money saver for parking and food if you have the time, and you’re spared the traffic hassles at the ballpark.

There you go, three helpful parking tips for Indians games at Progressive Field. But you have lots of other options to get there, like light rail, the Healthline, even the Great Lakes Fatty Wagon. If you’d like to know more about all of them and save yourself money and time, be sure to read one of these before you go!

More About Progressive Field:

Visiting Progressive Field – Five Tips For Newbies

Three Foods To Try At Progressive Field

Three Extra Progressive Field Tips

 

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The Best Way To Get To Nationals Park From Baltimore

Posted by Kurt Smith

For you Birds fans or other Baltimoreans looking for the best way to get to Nationals Park from Baltimore for a game, you have a few options.

Here I’m going to share some obvious routes…with a few things you should know.

 

best way to get to nationals park from baltimore greenbelt

So…is this Greenbelt Station?

The Best Way To Get To Nationals Park From Baltimore, Route #1: Take the Green Line Metro from Greenbelt. The Metro train Green Line runs from Greenbelt station, conveniently located off of I-95/495, to the Navy Yard-Ballpark station at Nationals Park in about 40 minutes. This is probably the easiest route, but you should have a plan to get back just in case this rare but frustrating occurrence happens.

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best way to get to nationals park from baltimore marc

You want the one on the right. Unless you’re coming home.

The Best Way To Get To Nationals Park From Baltimore, Route #2: MARC and/or AMTRAK. Amtrak runs trains from Penn Station and BWI airport in Baltimore to Union Station (Red Line) and New Carrollton Station (Orange Line), both of which are a two train ride to Nats Park. MARC runs from Camden Station to Greenbelt Station, requiring only one transfer, and the MARC train is much cheaper. Unfortunately MARC is only available during the day, so you’d need to use Amtrak (or a Metrobus, more likely, given the more frequent schedules) at least to get back after a night game.

This is a nice affordable option, especially using MARC, sparing you traffic troubles, and gas and parking money. Can be a little unwieldy though.

 

best way to get to nationals park from baltimore by car

One of these will do it.

The Best Way To Get To Nationals Park From Baltimore, Route #3: By Car. If you’re going to just drive, I highly recommend that you 1) book your parking beforehand, and b) avoid the most common highways like I-95, especially during rush hour. Try using MD295, which is truck-free, or if you’re coming from a western suburb like Ellicott City, try using the six-lane U.S. Route 29 highway to I-95/495, and then to MD 295. Route 29 is less congested than I-95 and can save you some aggravation.

Those are three of the better ways to get to Nationals Park from Baltimore, but if you’d like the full lowdown on all of your transportation options for Nationals Park, including ferries and bicycles, get wise with this handy little guide to Nationals Park.

 

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Great American Ball Park Parking – Three Smart Choices

Posted by Kurt Smith

There isn’t any shortage of close and convenient Great American Ball Park parking…the home of the Reds is among the easiest to reach by automobile. I’ve looked into this quite a bit, and I have my three favorite spots, each very affordable and with its own advantages:

 

great american ballpark parking streetcar

Reachable by streetcar, and features outstanding Belgian waffles.

Great American Ball Park Parking, Part 1: Park early at the ballpark and make a day of Cincinnati. The Broadway and a couple of other lots are literally right there at the ballpark, but they don’t start charging the game rate until later in the day, so if you’re early enough you can park there for the day for a fraction of the event cost. And now with the new and inexpensive Cincinnati streetcar, you can very cheaply visit some great local attractions like Findlay Market. (Belgian waffles!)

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great american ball park parking newport

Baseball and sea otters…without having to move your car.

Great American Ball Park Parking, Part 2: Park in Newport, KY. The Newport-On-The-Levee garage is cheap, and it’s near a full-blown entertainment center with everything from a movie theater and an aquarium and lots of great eateries. And multiple ways to get to the ballpark…you can take a lengthy but scenic stroll across the Purple People Bridge, or use the inexpensive Southbank Shuttle to GABP’s front door…or even take a boat from the waterfront restaurants. Great if you’re bringing the kids or impressing a date.

 

great american ball park parking covington

A cheap if rickety ride from a free parking spot.

Great American Ball Park Parking, Part 3: Park in Covington, KY. Covington is nowhere near the entertainment destination that Newport is, but this can be a good thing…it’s more than simple enough to find a free spot, either near the Roebling Bridge for another scenic walk (and not as lengthy as the walk from Newport) or a Southbank Shuttle station for a cheap ride. There are some nice watering holes with outdoor dining here, like the Keystone Bar & Grill…which will give you shuttle tokens with their outstanding mac and cheese.

There’s three great options for different tastes in getting to Great American, and I hope you find them useful. But there are lots of great ways to get to the home of the Reds…plan the best route for you and your group with this handy little guide!

More About Great American Ball Park:

Visiting Great American Ball Park – Five Tips For Newbies

Why Great American Ball Park Is Underrated

Three Foods To Try at Great American Ball Park

 

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Guaranteed Rate Field Parking – Three Cheaper Alternatives

Posted by Kurt Smith

Chicago isn’t a cheap city, and Guaranteed Rate Field parking lots, while spacious and convenient, aren’t as cheap as they possibly could be. And while the tailgating is certainly respectable, there are some cheaper and sometimes more fun alternatives…

 

guaranteed rate field parking pace bus

New name, but same great service!

Guaranteed Rate Field Parking Alternative #1: The Pace Guaranteed Rate Field Express. The Pace Bus is great if you’re going cheap; it’s just a few bucks each way, you can park for free in a suburb like Tinley Park, and you’re spared the traffic and parking hassles before and after the game…which can be considerable here.

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guaranteed rate field parking reggies rock bus

You need to be seen on a bus like this.

Guaranteed Rate Field Parking Alternative #2: The Reggies Rock Bus. The Reggies people tell me there is inexpensive parking near their popular music club…you can book it ahead of time on ParkWhiz…but however you get to Reggies, you get to ride the awesome-looking Reggies Rock Bus to the game. Reggies also has specials that include a meal and game ticket, for an absolute steal of a price.

 

guaranteed rate field parking red line

In case you didn’t know the ballpark is on 35th Street.

Guaranteed Rate Field Parking Alternative #3: The CTA Red/Green Lines. Okay, these are obvious – but I’ve already talked about Metra Rail here. Besides, both trains have their advantages – you can park very inexpensively at stations like Howard (or even in Chinatown for the Red Line), and from the 35th-Bronzeville-IIT station on the Green Line it’s a short walk past cool sandwich shops like Jimmy John’s to fill up your goody bag.

That’s just a few alternatives to the somewhat expensive and kind-of-boring-if-you’re-not-tailgating lots at Guaranteed Rate Field. But there are plenty of ways to get to the White Sox ballpark, so choose whatever works best for you.

This handy little guide should be a big help!

More About Guaranteed Rate Field:

Visiting Guaranteed Rate Field – Five Tips For Newbies

Using Metra to Get to Guaranteed Rate Field

Three Foods To Try at Guaranteed Rate Field

 

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Can You Bring Food Into Fenway Park?

Posted by Kurt Smith

Can you bring food into Fenway Park? The short answer is yes, you can. The Red Sox allow you to bring in a 16*16*8 soft-sided bag, so long as it doesn’t contain alcohol or potential projectiles.

But now that you know that you can bring food into Fenway Park, the new question is what to bring in…and Ballpark E-Guides, always willing to take the extra base, has a few suggestions:

 

can yuo bring food into fenway park sausage connection

That is more than enough Inner Beauty.

The Sausage Connection. Of all of the vendors selling sausages on Lansdowne Street before the game, the Sausage Connection is my personal favorite. Not only are the prices for sausages and chicken teriyaki sandwiches better than inside the ballpark, they offer that “Inner Beauty” hot sauce, a thick mustard-style sauce that will blow out the back of your brain (go easy with it at first, seriously).

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can you bring food into fenway park sausage guy

Bigger than the roll, and foil included. Check.

The Sausage Guy. David Littlefield sells hefty and reasonably priced (for Fenway) sweet Italian sausages, and he loads them up with a nice amount of peppers and onions. Good and messy as it should be. And he’s open well into the evening, just in case you’re hungry after the game and have a few bucks left.

 

can you bring food into fenway tasty burger

You need only dodge traffic to get there.

Tasty Burger. The chain of burger and beer joints serves up burgers inside of Fenway, but there’s a location on the corner of Yawkey Way and Boylston Street, just a block from the ballpark (it’s close enough that they can charge $50 to park there). The restaurant itself is cheaper…and the selection of burgers is much, much better.

That’s just three great choices if you want to bring food into Fenway Park and save a few bucks. If you want the full lowdown on not just the great sausage vendors, but also what you can get inside Fenway Park, order yourself one of these today!

 

More About Fenway Park:

The Fenway Frank – As Baseball As Life Gets

How To Get Cheap(er) Red Sox Tickets

Visiting Fenway Park – Five Tips For Newbies

 

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Can You Bring Food Into Citizens Bank Park?

Posted by Kurt Smith

Like with most ballparks, fans can bring food into Citizens Bank Park in Philly…which is a great money-saver for fans.

The Phillies allow a 16*16*8 soft-sided cooler in the ballpark, subject to inspection: no alcohol, no glass bottles or containers, and nothing that can be used as a projectile.

But since Ballpark E-Guides always takes the extra base for readers, in addition to answering whether you can bring food into Citizens Bank Park, here are a few suggestions of where to get cheap outside eats…

bring food into citizens bank park pastaficio's

Hoagies. All you need to know in Philly.

Pastaficio’s. Pastaficio’s is a fresh pasta and Italian foods outlet located in the same plaza as the Packer Avenue Chickie’s and Pete’s…if you’re using the Taxi Crab, it’s a great food stop. Locals rave about the chicken parm sandwich, but all their offerings are good…Pastaficio’s is a hidden gem.

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bring food into citizens bank park crab fries

Not nearly enough fries here for most Philadelphians.

Chickie’s and Pete’s. And there’s Chickie’s and Pete’s of course, purveyors of the famous crab fries in the ballpark itself. The actual restaurant offers valet parking for a couple bucks cheaper than the ballpark, and that Taxi Crab will take you to the game. Get two orders of the crab fries to go…which come with two cheese containers that cost extra at the ballpark, and you’re getting the iconic Philly fries at almost half the cost.

 

bring food into citizens bank park septa

Gangway! Peanuts coming!

Nuts To You. Nuts To You isn’t very close to the ballpark, but there is a location very close to the Walnut_locust Station on the SEPTA Broad Street Line…making it a perfect stop for Jersey fans using the PATCO-SEPTA combination to get to the Bank. Nuts To You features every kind of snack imaginable, from sesame sticks to wasabi peas, but best of all they sell fresh, warm peanuts in a paper bag…still the go-to ballpark snack.

There’s three great options to bring food into Citizens Bank Park…and remember, it’s still a place where you can eat very well inside. Be sure to be prepared with this handy insider’s guide to the home of the Phillies!

More About Citizens Bank Park:

Visiting Citizens Bank Park – Five Tips For Newbies

How I Saved $75 at Citizens Bank Park

Five Citizens Bank Park Cheesesteaks

 

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Should I Take The Ballpark Tour?

Posted by Kurt Smith

I remember, when Camden Yards first opened, reading in brochures that the Orioles offered a ballpark tour. I remember thinking that it didn’t seem like something I’d be interested in, because at the ballpark I want to see a game. A pitching matchup. Home runs. Stolen bases. Extra innings. If you can’t root for the home team while eating peanuts and crackerjack, then why go to the ballpark?

ballpark tour orioles

The logo that preceded Camden Yards.

But for the purposes of what I do helping baseball fans, I decided some time ago that ballpark tours would be helpful; I could get some great photos, have access to places I normally can’t afford, and maybe even learn a thing or two, and get any questions answered that I might have.

The first ballpark I took a tour of was Fenway Park in Boston. My wonderful wife Suzanne had given me Red Sox tickets for my birthday, the best birthday gift ever, and on our trip I convinced her to take the tour with me for the aforementioned reasons.

The Fenway Park tour starts in the Team Shop on Yawkey Way, where the tour guide starts off by asking if there are any Yankees fans in the group. Inevitably there are and they will, of course, proudly declare themselves, to which the guide will respond, “Okay, I’ll talk very slow for you.” And the tour continues in that vein, with the guide taking humorous shots at the Yankees throughout.

As I said, I didn’t think I’d consider a ballpark tour all that much fun. And I was totally wrong. The Fenway tour got me addicted to ballpark tours, and I take the tour whenever I can on baseball road trips. You learn about the ballpark’s history, stories of historic events that have happened there, and how certain parts of the ballpark like the Green Monster came to be. You get to see the field from several angles, often including the press box or the suites.

Most times you can sit in the home team’s dugout (I don’t know why that’s such an essential part of almost every ballpark tour, it’s not a big deal to me, but people love it). The tour guide will inevitably give people in the group a chance to show off their knowledge of baseball…and often little kids will answer their questions.

ballpark tour fenway

Fenway quiet and peaceful, as it is rarely seen.

But here’s the best part of a ballpark tour, something I never gave much thought to before doing it: you get to see a baseball field in the morning. I know that doesn’t sound exciting, but there’s a wonderful peaceful charm to it, especially on a bright summer morning. It’s quiet. Grass is getting watered or mowed. Maybe a fence is being repaired in the outfield.

You think about what goes on behind the scenes and start to realize that hundreds of people put in thousands of hours of work to prepare the ballpark for the madhouse it’s going to become that evening. There is something about being in a ballpark in the morning that appeals to the types that hear voices telling them to build a baseball diamond in their cornfield.

Since Fenway I’ve toured a total of…let me get my slippers off here…fourteen ballparks. Of them the Wrigley tour may have been the most entertaining, simply because there is so much history and so much that people don’t know, and you get to sit in the bleachers. But all the tours are fun; PNC Park in Pittsburgh and Miller Park in Milwaukee were especially neat and full of stopping points.

At Progressive Field in Cleveland, and later at Nationals Park in D.C., I had the good fortune of being the only person taking the tour at that time, and I had a very enjoyable time talking with the tour guide. It’s nice when you can move at your own pace.

Going to a ballpark for a game, of course, is one of life’s greatest pleasures at any age. But going for a ballpark tour on a beautiful summer morning is a wonderful experience in its own way, and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re visiting a ballpark in another city.

 

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Baseball Fan Mistakes I Used To Make

Posted by Kurt Smith

Since I’ve started researching everything there is to know about various baseball venues in the quest to help the non-affluent baseball fan, I’ve learned a lot. Some things have saved me money, some things have saved me time, and some things have saved me a lot of aggravation.

Even I still don’t always get it right going to a game, but I’ve definitely learned to avoid certain pitfalls. Here’s a list of four mistakes I used to make in my misspent youth…

 

baseball fan tickets website white sox

Just in case your search engine is busted.

Baseball Fan Mistake #1: Buying tickets from the team website. By itself, this isn’t always the worst thing to do. Many teams, like the Brewers and Nationals, offer pretty good ticket deals on their websites, and buying from the team at face value can be your best option for a high demand game.

But over the years I could have saved a TON of money by exploring all of the other options…like StubHub, eBay and other third parties (especially now that SeatGeek is a help with that), checking to see if there are sites like Travelzoo that offer deals, or simply buying from the team box office. I can easily stop at the box office in Philly since it’s close; most games aren’t sold out and you can find some seats on game day and pay the ticket without the obnoxious fees. Game day ticket sales are very popular at Fenway in Boston too.

On third party sites like StubHub, you can choose the exact section you want to sit and see what is available and the pricing. Teams are getting better at this, though. Many teams have seating maps that show the exact seats that are available, which is even better than StubHub. Remember though, you’re still paying the ticket fees.

 

baseball fan parking at prudential center

12 minutes to Fenway by foot. If you walk hastily.

Baseball Fan Mistake #2: Not looking into all my transportation options. Just driving to the ballpark and hoping to find a good parking spot is not a great strategy, and will likely result in your fuming at both the traffic and the cost of parking. I have had many a ballgame experience at least temporarily marred by this frustration, especially when visiting a ballpark for the first time.

I used to be able to tolerate the traffic on downtown Baltimore when I was able to park in a garage for $5, but since they’re nowhere near that cheap anymore, I just use the Light Rail if I’m by myself and park for free in Lutherville. With other people, I’ll use ParkWhiz.

In my first visit to Comerica Park in Detroit, I paid $20 to park almost at the front door, because I was concerned about leaving my car too far away in Detroit. This was 2001 money, so $20 was a lot to park. In my second visit a year later, I accidentally stumbled on a cool tip, parking at the Fox Theatre garage much earlier in the day and paying just $2 for the whole night. And it was just a few steps further away. (It’s $5 today, if you get there early enough.)

I drove my car to Citi Field once too. Once.

 

baseball fan food citi field two boots pizza

Not just pizza. Grandma Joan pizza!

Baseball Fan Mistake #3: Just getting a hot dog at the game. OK, maybe that’s not really a mistake. Nowhere does a hot dog taste better. But until researching Citizens Bank Park…and this is my home ballpark…I didn’t know about the roast pork and provolone from Tony Luke’s, the Campo’s Heater sandwich, the Schmitter, or the Bull Dog from Bull’s BBQ. Seriously. And I wouldn’t have a clue what Federal Donuts was. Talk about missing out.

Nowadays every ballpark has so many great food choices that it’s worth checking it out beforehand and deciding what you might like. At ballpark prices, don’t just get a simple hot dog and popcorn. Next time you’re at Citi Field, try Josh Capon’s Bash Burger. Or the garlic fries at Yankee Stadium. Don’t leave PNC Park in Pittsburgh without trying a Primanti Bros. sandwich with fries and slaw piled on. And a Ben’s Chili Half-Smoke at Nationals Park is worth the price of a Nats game ticket.

 

baseball fan save money at the ballpark rounding third

I’ll take one wing please.

Baseball Fan Mistake #4: Not knowing about the local scene. For years I bought one beer at Camden Yards because I didn’t want to (and still don’t) pay ballpark prices for beer. I literally did not know that I could knock down a couple of cheap Natty Bohs across the street at Slider’s before the game. I made two visits to Cincinnati to see Reds games without having any clue about the restaurants and nightlife across the river in Newport. There’s a great bunch of eateries near E. 4th Street in Cleveland, just a short walk from Progressive Field.

And would you believe I didn’t even notice the tailgating party in my first trip to Miller Park in Milwaukee? Nor did I know about the large number of taverns that would have given me a ride to the game.

 

Knowing what I know now, I suppose it’s a testament to how much of a baseball fan I am that I enjoyed the games anyway. Dad taught me well.

But it’s so much better now that I know what I’m doing. And I can always refer to one of these.

 

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Um Bate-Papo com “Baseball Joe” – O maior fã de beisebol que existe

Posted by Kurt Smith

Eu conheci o Joe Vogel em 12 de Junho de 2016, enquanto me encontrava com um amigo e companheiro de viagem Dan Davies e o seu grupo de amigos viajantes que me convidaram para ir com eles para Pittsburgh.

Estava um dia perfeito no maravilhoso PNC Park enquanto os Pirates se preparavam para uma batalha de fim de tarde contra os Cardinals.

Naquele dia, porém, beisebol não era a única coisa na mente dos fiéis torcedores dos Bucs.

Sidney Crosby e os Penguins estavam em San Jose naquela noite, prontos para trazer a quarta Stanley Cup para a cidade. Eles realmente fizeram isso algumas horas depois que o jogo de beisebol terminou. Uniformes, camisas e bonés dos Penguins eram vistos em grande número para uma plateia de beisebol.

Em certo ponto, durante o jogo, um jovem torcedor fez uma “zueira”: apareceu com uma Stanley Cup de papel laminado, quase em tamanho natural e passeou com ela orgulhosamente por uma seção do estádio no “right field”. Ele foi aplaudido de pé pelos que estavam assentados por ali.

Mas, apesar de ser um nativo de Pittsburgh, Joe Vogel não estava gostando nada daquilo.

Sem aviso, como se o dever o chamasse, ele salta da sua cadeira no “Right Field Cove” (uma seção específica de assentos no PNC Park) e desaparece no meio das arquibancadas. Segundos depois, ele era visto andando ali perto de onde estava o cara que carregava a taça. Para grande diversão dos seus amigos do “Cove”, Vogel passou vários minutos numa busca determinada por aquele cara que, a esta altura, já estava longe há muito tempo.

O riso na seção do Vogel aumenta à medida em que a sua busca determinada continua muito além do tempo que aquela situação merecia. Porque após várias entradas sentados com aquela figura, eles sabiam exatamente porque ele estava atrás daquele orgulhoso fã de hóquei.

Era para envergonhá-lo. Para olhar para ele com uma cara feia. Para educar aquele jovem rapaz sobre as prioridades.

Isso, porque o “Baseball Joe Vogel” vai sempre deixar claro que só o beisebol importa. Todos os outros esportes são perda de tempo.

baseball joe pirates

O único torcedor que pode jogar uma bola de beisebol pela área do estádio sem enfrentar problemas.

“Baseball Joe” é surdo e mudo em função de 3 derrames debilitantes. Ele se comunica através de gestos e sinais de mão, com um pequeno teclado, ou um pequeno alfabeto num pedaço de papel dobrado.

Ele mora num apartamento no centro de Pittsburgh pertinho do PNC Park, atravessando a ponte Roberto Clemente. Beisebol, especialmente o beisebol dos Pirates, é a sua vida. E assim tem sido desde que ele era um garoto. Ele se auto proclama “o maior fã de beisebol que existe” e até agora, no meu quase meio século de existência, eu ainda não encontrei alguém tão fanático por baseball quanto Joe… nem mesmo o meu pai, que considerava ser o maior fã desse esporte.

Os Pirates o conhecem bem. Ele vez por outra joga e apanha umas bolinhas com o técnico Clint Hurdle e até mesmo o aconselha algumas vezes por e-mail. Cortesia de um time que ama a sua dedicação, ele tem ingresso de sócio torcedor e vai a todos os jogos na seção coberta para portadores de necessidades especiais que fica no campo direito, embaixo da arquibancada, pois não consegue ficar no sol durante muito tempo. Ele, talvez, seja o único torcedor no PNC Park que não liga para aquele cenário pitoresco da cidade.

Sentado com ele, é quase impossível prestar atenção ao jogo, especialmente num dia em que os rebatedores adversários começaram com tudo contra os arremessadores dos Pirates, como os Cardinals naquela noite. “Baseball Joe” é tão divertido quanto a ação em campo… constantemente conversando com espectadores ao seu modo, pacientemente se comunicando com o seu teclado ou o seu surrado pedaço de papel quando as pessoas têm dificuldade de entender os seus gestos. Ele carrega uma bola de beisebol que ele frequentemente joga para funcionários que, casualmente, a jogam de volta pra ele, conhecendo o procedimento habitual. Durante o jogo, empregados de outros times aparecem para cumprimenta-lo. Ele constantemente ganha souvenires e parece ter um suprimento sem fim de copos de refrigerante colecionáveis, um dos quais, ele dividiu comigo.

Ao longo da noite, risadas são ouvidas na seção onde estávamos tanto pelo seu conhecimento do beisebol quanto por suas duras críticas aos torcedores que não respeitavam o jogo o suficiente.

Em um certo ponto, ele me pergunta se eu gosto de algum outro esporte. Esquecendo-me do seu desdém por aquele fã de hóquei eu falei pra ele que eu gosto de NASCAR também e ele balançou a cabeça. Ele fingiu estar dirigindo um carro, depois olhou pra mim com cara brava e fez o símbolo de “vergonha” com os dedos. Depois, segurou a bola de beisebol e fez um movimento circular com o dedo. Eu, então, entendi: “Beisebol o ano todo”.

Durante toda a noite, ele nunca parou. Com o seu teclado ele mandou várias perguntas sobre beisebol pros seus amigos, como “Cite dois jogadores no Hall da Fama que tenham o mesmo primeiro e segundo nomes.” Um sabichão no grupo responde com um tom pedante como se estivesse certo da resposta: “Ken Griffey Senior and Ken Griffey Junior!”.

Enquanto o resto do grupo gargalhava, Joe sorri, vira pra mim e informa: Henry Louis Aaron and Henry Louis Gehrig, or Joseph Paul DiMaggio and Joseph Paul Torre.

Mais tarde, Dan, que levou Joe com ele e seu grupo a vários estádios da liga e ao Hall da Fama, me contou a história de ele arrasando nas enquetes feitas por lá. Se houvesse uma edição de beisebol do “Jeopardy” (jogo de perguntas e respostas muito famoso nos EUA), “Baseball Joe” ganharia de qualquer adversário.

PNC Park Front gate

A casa do Baseball Joe

“Baseball Joe” detém o título de ser o primeiro fã a pedir o meu autógrafo, pelo menos como um autor de livros sobre beisebol.

Num jogo dos Pirates, ele me pediu para enviar pra ele o guia digital do PNC Park autografado. Ele também me deu instruções precisas: “certifique-se de assinar com o seu nome completo, incluindo o nome do meio e o faça em ordem”, coisa que eu não estou acostumado a fazer já que a minha assinatura é um garrancho horrível. Ele é um perfeccionista, especialmente no que diz respeito ao beisebol.

Joe amou o “e-guide” do PNC PARK e delirou sobre ele num e-mail… uma medalha de honra pra mim… mas ele também fez algumas sugestões: falar um pouco mais sobre os assentos, incluir mais fotos nos espaços em branco e, talvez, falar um pouco mais sobre a comida e outras coisas. Ele é a primeira pessoa a reclamar comigo dizendo que não há informações SUFICIENTES num “e-guide”.

Ele tem me pedido repetidamente para enviá-lo guias sobre o Wrigley Field e o Busch Stadium in St. Louis (este último eu ainda vou escrever). Eu sempre fico feliz quando tenho plateia.

citizens bank park philly

O lado oeste do Citizens Bank Park.

Alguns dias depois daquela experiência em Pitsburgh, eu me encontrei com o “Baseball Joe” e o grupo de novo, dessa vez no Citizens Bank Park, na minha cidade natal, Filadélfia. Eu arrumei pra eles um lugar para estacionar o carro de graça e me assentei com eles no andar superior na hora do jogo. Durante a noite, Joe, novamente, me manteve mais entretido do que a ação em campo.

Eu contei pra ele que eu torço pros Orioles e ele levantou os dedos. Primeiro um sete e depois um um. Eu logo saquei. A World Series de 1971. Os Pirates sobre os Orioles em sete jogos. Eu tinha três anos.

Então ele fez um “7” e um “9” com seus dedos. 1979. Os Pirates, liderados por Pops Stargell, viraram uma série que estava 3 a 1 para, mais uma vez, baterem os Orioles em sete jogos. Minha reação foi tombar a minha cabeça e fingir enxugar as lágrimas dos meus olhos, ilustrando a decepção de um pequeno torcedor dos Orioles de 11 anos. Eu não dancei NUNCA MAIS “We Are Family”, informo a ele. (Em 1979, quando os Pirates ganharam a World Series, eles se uniram, porque a mãe do técnico Chuck Tanner tinha morrido. Então, eles adotaram a música “We Are Family” do trio Sister Sledge como música tema.)

Ele acena com a cabeça, entendendo. Ele também faz o gesto de esfregar os olhos mencionando o péssimo desempenho dos Pirates por tantos anos.

Ele me pergunta qual o meu jogador preferido e, quando eu digo Cal Ripken Jr, ele rapidamente traz com o seu teclado uma estatística pra mim: “A média de aproveitamento mais baixa de um jogador com 3000 rebatidas.”

Quando eu mostro pro Joe uma foto da minha filha posando com bichos de pelúcia vestidos com uniformes de beisebol que eu trago pra ela das minhas viagens ele brevemente digita no teclado e me mostra: “Você é abençoado. Eu não tenho família.”

Eu instantaneamente me senti não só triste por ele, mas também culpado por alguma eventual insatisfação que eu sinto com a minha própria vida. Ele está certo. Eu sou muito abençoando. Eu não só tenho duas crianças lindas e saudáveis, eu ainda tenho tempo para o único esporte que importa.

baseball joe

O maior fã de beisebol que existe.

Muito depois que a multidão deixou o Citizens Bank Park naquela noite, “Baseball Joe” conseguiu deixar alguns funcionários sem jeito, já que resolveu sair da parte dos assentos somente depois de juntar tantos copos de refrigerantes de coleção, quanto ele podia. Dava pra ver claramente a agitação crescendo nos olhos deles enquanto eles antecipam o confronto (Ao fim de qualquer jogo nos EUA passado algum tempo, os funcionários começam a impedir que se transite ou até mesmo se permaneça dentro do estádio). Joe parece ignorar à aproximação da “polícia do estádio”, mas ele sai da área dos assentos no exato momento anterior em que o funcionário começar a ficar irritado. Ele é um expert nisso.

De volta ao hotel em que eles estavam hospedados, “Baseball Joe” e eu posamos para uma foto e ele me surpreendeu com um grande abraço! Aparentemente, eu deixei uma boa impressão. Eu fiquei feliz que ele não se chateou comigo por eu ter mostrado a ele as minhas fotos de família.

“Baseball Joe” e eu trocamos e-mail com frequência. Nos seus e-mails o assunto é quase sempre Beisebol. 24 horas por dia. 7 dias por semana. 366 dias por ano – se assegurando para não perder nem mesmo o dia extra do ano bissexto. Seus e-mails são geralmente breves, mas sempre muito atenciosos, desejando “bom feriado” para minha família e pra mim, me pedindo para mandar mais “e-guides” quando eu puder e dividindo comigo seus pensamentos sobre o destino dos Pirates. Logo depois que o time de Pittsburgh não foi para os Playoffs em 2016, ele me mandou um e-mail escrito: “Pirates eliminados – eu choro.” Por 33 anos e contando, esse fã dos Orioles sabe bem o que é isso.

Eu sempre fico feliz quando tenho notícias do “Baseball Joe”, porque sempre que eu penso nele, ele está certo. Outros esportes são perda de tempo.

E “Baseball Joe” sabe como ninguém que o nosso tempo é muito valioso para ser desperdiçado.

 

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