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April 10, 2014

LINDLEY: Trip to MLB game gets expensive

Attending an opening day game at a Major League ballpark is one of life’s little pleasures. Everyone should get to experience it at least once.

It’s different from the 80 other home games in a season. Optimism runs high, and dreams of a late-season pennant race don’t seem too far fetched. The stadium is nearly jammed. Most fans are decked out in their team’s colors. Even those wearing the opponent’s jerseys don’t seem too objectionable.

It’s just good to be back at the ballpark. It’s the birth of another season.

For me the scene was the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, with its configuration that has the cozy feel of stadiums from a bygone day, as well as the modern touches and conveniences of a new home. Close to perfect.

After a long, snowy winter, we were greeted by blue skies and the warm sun shining upon us in our seats behind home plate. The emerald expanse of lush turf pushed recent warnings of another winter storm into the recesses of our minds. If it wasn’t summer yet, it would be soon.

The trip to Cincinnati coincided with the release of the annual “Fan Cost Index,” a survey by the publisher Team Marketing Report that gives an idea of how much a family of four spends at a game.

The average cost across the big leagues: $212.46. For that investment a family would get four adult, average-price tickets; four small soft drinks; two small beers; four hotdogs; two programs; parking; and two adult-sized caps.

It would be easy to spend more. On the other hand, with some planning, a family could cut corners and conserve on game-day expenses.

My trip for a late-afternoon game went something like this: Parking was $14. An all-beef hot dog and soft drink shortly after I entered the stadium: $11.50.

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