I have posted before about the outrageous prices of going to professional sporting events. While some sports (like Football) are more expensive than others (Baseball), you can still drop a chunk of change on something like a Major League Baseball game- not to mention the time you spend there. The more "popular" or successful your team, the more you'll spend. Believe me.
In North Carolina, we are not fortunate enough to have our own Major League Baseball team. I'm a de facto Atlanta Braves fan because until recently, they were the only team I'd ever seen play in person- not to mention they were the closest! A quick check on the Braves website shows me parking ranges from $8 prepaid to $15 day of game. The absolute worst tickets in the stadium are $7 each- which isn't anything compared to football, but remember, these are the worst aka cheapest tickets available.
For Tim and I to go to a game, we will have already spent $22 on tickets and parking- and that isn't including gas, food when we get there, etc. If you read the link I posted earlier, you'll get an idea of all the things that can cost you money.
Recently, we've started attending Minor League games. There are tons of "Farm" teams in North Carolina- the Greensboro Grasshoppers and the Burlington Royals are the closest, with the Hickory Crawdads and the Danville Braves also being viable options. Four teams we could go see that are much closer than the Atlanta Braves. Farm teams are basically for future major leaguers (or maybe not)- when a kid is drafted, he goes to play for that team's farm teams and works his way up to a chance in the big league.
Why attend Minor League games?
They are cheaper. Parking is free at the Burlington Royals Stadium. We bought a book of 10 general admission tickets for $40- that's $4 a ticket. Not to mention, the back of each ticket features a coupon for McDonalds- buy a sandwich, get a sandwich free. Food at a minor league game is significantly cheaper than food in a Major League park. When we saw the Anaheim Angels play, it cost us $10 for a hamburger from Jack in the Box. $10 at a Royals game got us 2 chickfila sandwiches, a drink and we had money left over.
Promotions. Tim and I paid $1 for a souvenir program and ended up winning a Free Sports Clip Hair Cut voucher, as well as a Free Car Wash (with lots of "extras"- $17 value on the car wash alone). Minor League games want you to come see them, so they host trivia contests, do drawings and also do Tim's favorite- free T-shirt giveaways. We have attended two games and have two T-shirts now- each. Any day we choose to see a game there is a giveaway of some kind of free items. Not to mention a promotion on a Papa John's pizza box netted us a free admission- yeah, our $4 tickets are actually going to stretch out even longer because we were able to get in free. The Greensboro Grasshoppers do beautiful fireworks shows on the weekends of their games. Check your local teams, who knows what they giveaway or what show they put on.
Access to the Players. Ok, so they may not be anyone you have heard of, but we have seen the Kansas City Royals' first round draft pick play. He may not amount to anything, he may be incredible- who knows? That's part of the fun. Kids have access to the players and I can't tell you how many have caught or have been given foul balls. They don't care if the guy who hit it never gets out of the minors- they are just thrilled to have caught a ball. Ever heard of a guy named Manny Ramirez, the 9 time silver slugger who plays professionally for the Dodgers? He started his career as a Burlington Indian (before they became affliated with the Royals). Who knows who you may see or meet!
Fun- and shorter. Don't have time to spend 4+ hours at a major league game? Minor League games are usually shorter- not to mention we saw a ton of hits, an error or two and we were just feet from the action! It's a great place to people watch, minor league games are less crowded than major league games and you feel much more "a part" of everything going on.
So consider checking out your local minor league baseball teams. There is no telling who you may see play "before they were a star" and you get a fun evening out at a cheaper price.