Meredith Farrell is a Sports Communications major at Marist College. She was a four-year varsity athlete at Trinity High School. Table Talk is her unique female perspective on sports.
This week I had the privilege of attending my first Yankee Game at Yankee Stadium. Yes I am a Yankee fan and yes I realize that most of you are not, but I guarantee you that anyone who has ever been in Yankee Stadium, Yankee fan or not would tell you that there is simply something special about Yankee Stadium. I was very blessed to have seats very close to the field; they were a gift from my college roommate (her dad’s company has tickets). The reason I bring this up is the price that these tickets would have cost if they hadn’t not been given to me as a gift. Without telling you the exact price, let me put it this way if I had to pay the ticketed price I would have never been able to afford these seats.
The Yankees ticket prices are by far some of the highest in all of Major League Baseball, however all of Major League Baseball teams over recent years have spiked ticket prices. It has become unrealistic for a middle class family of four to sit in seats that are close enough to get tossed or handed a loose ball without breaking the bank. People just don’t have that type of money to spend on one night of family fun, especially when you throw in the 30 dollars for parking and the at least 50 dollars on dinner and concessions.
I started thinking about this when Derek Jeter first stepped out onto the field into the on-deck batting circle. When Jeter stepped on the field he noticed a young boy sitting behind him and he signaled for the boy to come down, and then shook his hand and said a quick hello to him before beginning to warm up. My initial reaction was wow what a great moment for that kid, but then I remembered that his parents had paid for him to be seated in the Yankee Stadium Legends tickets. The Legends tickets start at 850 dollars per seat and prices behind home plate are even pricier. So even though that was probably a once in a lifetime moment for that boy was it honestly worth up to 3500 dollars to get his whole family into the game?
Now I am a Yankee fan as I said before and I understand that the Yankees are a phenomenal business and that the Yankees have a history, a legacy and an atmosphere that people will pay that much for. However, sadly it seems that we have forgotten that the Yankees were great when their tickets were less than a dollar. In an article I found earlier this week Mariano Rivera reflected on the New Yankee Stadium in comparison to the old stadium.
Rivera raved about the beauty of the new stadium and the pristine condition of everything in it, but he did mention that at times he found it quiet on the mound. He hinted that because the seats in somewhat close proximity to the field are so expensive they are not being filled by passionate fans but rather by companies on business trips or people who are not as passionate as someone who is screaming “Lets Go Yankees!” from the further seat back sitting in the bleachers. He simply said that it seemed that an energy was missing behind the dugout and home plate in the new stadium. The best explanation for that is the high ticket prices.
As we sat at the game this past week my dad and I talked about all the games he used to go to as a kid. He went on and on about all of the great players he saw and all of the great memories he had shared with him dad at baseball games as a kid. We both had only been to three games together before this week’s game at Yankee stadium and we began to talk about the difference between my childhood and his. When he was a kid his dad’s favorite seats were First-Base Box Seats, specifically section 69F, in the Mets old home Shea Stadium.
Those seats were 10 rows back from the field and lined-up perfectly with first-base. Those seats were about 10 rows in front of the seats we had this week, and they only cost 4 dollars. See the thing most of the big guys in Major League Baseball forget is that they grew up in a world that a 4 dollars baseball ticket was normal and going to multiple games as kid was typical. The biggest thing they don’t realize is that if they had the opportunity to tell their dad that the MLB tickets now can cost as much as 1000 dollars to sit behind home plate their fathers would laugh and tell them that is impossibly ridiculous! The thing that is worrisome is that if the ticket prices today seem outrageous, I am worried for the next generation to come. If tickets continue to go up, family baseball trips could tragically become a thing of the past.
Baseball was a sport that grew because fans felt connected to the players and their favorite team’s stadium became like a second home. Player’s weren’t celebrities and they didn’t rake in the big bucks. If your team won a big game you fled onto the field to celebrate with them because you felt like you were a part of that victory, and indeed you were. I am not suggesting that baseball go back to the way it was back in the good old days, I am simply saying that if baseball is not careful it could lose its connection to its fans which was the reason for its growth in the first place.
Another great reason to take advantage of the Fisher Cats in Manchester!
Happy Friday Everyone!