Major League Fun in the Minors
Spring is in the air, and of course baseball season is finally starting. As the Yankees and Mets open up their new stadiums, you may be tempted to go down to the city and take a gander. Personally, I want to stay local and check out some top quality minor league teams.
First, I will look at the cost. The New York Mets charge $200 to sit on the field level. Combine that with either a $40 bus trip or the miserable experience of driving and parking. Equivalent seats for the AA Binghamton Mets cost $10, and Binghamton is only a short 30 to 40 minutes drive from Ithaca with little traffic.
If that is not enough to convince you, letís compare the experience. Major League stadiums are cold towards the fans. Although there may be a promotion or some silly game on the jumbotron, there is very little intimacy between the team and the 50,000 fans.
At a minor league game, you become part of the activities. You can compete in the on field contests, hang with the mascot, and win giveaways. At my last minor league game, I got my scorecard signed by a dozen different players and was able to have conversations beyond just asking for an autograph. Unlike major league players, most minor leaguers are just twenty-something year old kids. In fact, a player on the Binghamton Mets is only making $24,000 a year, which is not to far off the salary of the average American.
Finally, there is no doubt that Major Leaguers are superior in talent. That is why they are making the big bucks, but player movement between the farm clubs and the major league club is common. Three B-Mets from last season made the major league opening day roster this year, including the hero of the first game: Daniel Murphy. Who is to say that Ruben Tejada wonít be the next Jose Reyes? The future begins in the minors, and why not be the first one to scout out the talent before anyone else.
Attending minor league games are a fun experience, combining baseball with convenience and entertainment. I will probably visit Citi Field or Yankee Stadium at some point this year, but I know the best seat in the house is on my couch.
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(April 16, 2009)