Take Your Family Out to the Ballgame... for Cheap!
A Trip to Yankee Stadium CAN Be Affordable. Seriously!
One aspect of motherhood for which I was not prepared (well, one of the MANY aspects, I should say) was how having children affected the baseball-fan side of me. Not that my love of the game has changed at all, but my relationship with it has had to adjust. And while 10 years ago I could easily make last-minute plans to hop on a train and go to the Yankee Stadium for a game, it's not quite so easy (and not NEARLY as affordable) with a family in tow. But I am not easily deterred. And I found a way to make it work.
Bringing Your Family to (+ Affording) a New York Yankees Game:
Plan Ahead, Prepare, and Lower Your Expectations
(1) PLAN AHEAD:
- When to Buy Tickets: If at all possible, get your tickets as far in advance as you can. Get them before someone else nabs them and resells them on StubHub for a higher price. For this game in early August, I bought our seats in mid-April, and there were still a lot of seating options for all 5-tickets together. Keep in mind, this was a popular game--they were playing the Red Sox--so if they're playing a less-competitive/rivalrous team, you'll have even more options for seating.
- Where to Sit - Key: Bleachers + Aisle: This is really the clincher when it comes to affording the game. The BLEACHERS at Yankee Stadium are the most affordable seats. They go for $22 at full price, but if you pay with a Mastercard, you'll save a dollar on each seat, so we got them for $21 each. Ticketmaster charges a total of $9.10 for service and processing fees, so when all was said and done, we got the tickets for about $27.50 each. Also, try to get AISLE seats so you're not asking your neighbors to move every time one of the kids needs to get up.
Not sure whether the Bleachers are for you? My next post will feature some pics from our seats and more about our experience so you can see what it's like to be out there.
- Kids Tickets--Good to Know: Kids 3 and under are free if they can sit on your lap/share a seat. Otherwise, kids tickets are the same price as adults. We
bought a ticket for our 3-year old, but we didn't really need the
space, especially since our 3 kids together (ages 7, 5, and 3) could
pretty much fit into 2 bleacher-seat spaces. Next time we're going to
buy 4 and see how it goes.
- Wardrobe Essentials: Likely you'll want your crew to rock some Yankees gear to the game, but if you want to stick to the budget, don't wait until you get to the stadium to buy it! You can find great MLB shirts (for both kids and adults!) at Target and Old Navy, and they are much cheaper than the prices at the stadium. Selections will vary by region, but if you don't live close to your team, you can buy gear online, too! There's also a lot of '47 Brand on Amazon (a personal favorite) and you can get them quick with Prime shipping.
- Don't Show Up Hungry: Make sure you and your brood are well fed before you get to the game. I packed boxed dinners (it was a night game) and snacks for the kids and
made sandwiches for my husband and I--we ate them on the train on the
way down. I know, it's not a stadium hot dog, but if you don't show up to the game hungry, you'll be less likely to fall prey to the stadium-food-major-mark-ups.
- Bring Your Own Food Into The Game: Really! Yankee Stadium has an amazing Food And Beverage Policy. With only a few exceptions, you can bring your own food into the stadium (as long as it fits in a bag that meets the size guidelines).
Admittedly, it takes a lot of time and planning ahead to pack all of
that for a big family, but it's totally worth it. For example, I got a
large bag of shelled peanuts at Stop and Shop for $3.99. I split up the
big bag into little
personal-sized baggies--which calculates to less than 60¢ per bag.
At the stadium, a single bag of peanuts costs $5.00. Buy one of those
and that adds up quick--$25 for 5 people, in fact! Likewise, bags of
Cracker Jacks were 50¢ each at the grocery store.
- Bring Your Own Water (and only drink water!): You are permitted
to bring in unopened water bottles, but to lighten our load, I brought
our own refillable water bottles, and once we got into the stadium, we
filled them at the water fountain. You've just got to be willing to
stick to your guns on this one--any fountain beverage or alcohol will
definitely break the budget. There are also vendors selling bottled water outside the stadium for much less than it costs inside.
- Commit Ahead of Time How Much You Can Spend In The Stadium: We
didn't want to be total scrooges, so we told the kids they could each
pick one "treat" during the 4th inning. Two of them picked Dippin' Dots,
and one picked cotton candy, so in total, we spent $17 on stadium food. Less than $20 at the stadium? I'll take it.
(3) LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS:
- Let Go: If you're attending a game with young kids, you're going to have to let go of some of your own stadium routines. You probably won't be spouting out batting averages or keeping an official scorebook, but you'll go back to the basics (like, three-strikes-you're-out, who-bats-when). Your main focus is going to be making sure the kids are safe and happy. And if you're lucky, you'll be able to teach the kids some baseball fundamentals (between potty breaks), and no matter what, they'll start to see why going to a major league game baseball game is so magical. You'll be planting the seed for a love of baseball for years to come!
- You Might Need to Leave Early: I know, this is a tough one, especially if it's a good game. But simply getting to the Stadium will be an overstimulating experience for kids (adults, too!), so depending on their ages, there's a chance they will be exhausted. So to avoid major meltdowns and tantrums, you may need to sacrifice a few innings. We made it 5 1/2 innings. It didn't help that it was a pitcher's duel (C.C. will do that to ya), so there wasn't too much run-scoring action to hold their attention. But they still had fun and definitely got into the game. Seeing the fans, vendors, and players up close is an amazing experience in itself.
- Bring Some Distractions: And no, I don't mean an iPad! You want the kids to be interested in what you're actually doing! We always bring binoculars (they were a huge hit--so much that they argued over them for half the game-evidence below), and this year I brought a durable kids pair, too so I wouldn't be worried if they dropped them. Bring some baseball books (I like Yogi Berra's Let's Go Yankees because it really gives a good sense of the experience) or, if you have room in your bag, a glove for them to catch home runs or foul balls.
You Can Do It, Too!
It's easy to be intimidated by taking these kinds of trips with kids, but as long as you're willing to put in some work ahead of time, you can totally make it work and enjoy yourself, too! Last season we brought the kids to a game during Derek Jeter's last homestand, and I will never forget the looks on their faces as they chanted with the entire stadium, "Der-ek Je-ter!" Those are the kinds of memories I want my kids to have. I find that right now we're still chipping away at it, but little-by-little they're starting to understand the culture and history of the Yankees... and of course, why baseball is America's Favorite Past time :)
*There are some source links in this post, but I'm sharing them simply because I used those stores--I am not compensated if you click, just sharing the love!
And hey, are we connected yet? If not, find me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Google+, and Bloglovin so we can start sharing ideas together!