The Great American Pastime for the Privileged Few

In City Slickers, Mitch (Billy Crystal) describes his best day ever. He was seven years old. It was the first time his father took him to Yankee Stadium. His father bought him a program and taught him how to keep score. Mantle hit a home run and he gets a day with his dad — a magical memory for a young boy. The players were heroes, but they were real men too. No steroids, no endorsements, no nonsense. Now, the egos are larger than the Bud sign in center field, the bats may be corked and the performance may be illegally enhanced. And, as if that isn’t bad enough, you have to make a six figure salary to take your family out to the ballgame.

1960 Inflation adjustment Now
Most expensive ticket $3.50  $27  $750
Hot Dog  $.25  $1.90  $8
Soda  $.15  $1.15  $6
Scorecards  $.20  $1.54  $7
Beer  $.45  $3.45  $9

For a family of four to buy the tickets, have a few hot dogs and a couple drinks, maybe a souvenir or two, be prepared to spend upward of $330. And why are the prices so outrageous? In part, it is to pay the players. (The other part is to pay the owners.) Better players, more fans. More fans, greater attendance. At least with regard to character, it doesn’t seem the players of today are worth any more than those on the diamond in 1960. At that time, the highest paid players made about 25 times that of the average American worker. Now, it is over 400 times. In 1960, Stan Musial and Ted Williams asked for pay cuts because they didn’t think their play in the previous year warranted their salary. Now, guys are getting paid who are sitting on the DL or worse, in court lying about performance enhancing drugs. Maybe I’m just bitter because the Yanks didn’t make the playoffs this year, but for some good old American fun next spring, consider taking your family to a minor league game instead. There, you’ll find it is the pretzels and not the players who are salty, you’ll be able to say yes to all the treats your kids beg for, and you’ll leave with a couple bucks in your pocket.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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