Saturday, March 16, 2013

For $5, A Priceless Experience

Think of an event in New York City that one can attend for a cost equal to that of a Subway Footlong sandwich. A Broadway show? Not likely. A seat at a political fundraiser? Not in this lifetime. If purchasing a ticket to a New Yankee game did not immediately come to mind, you could be excused.

The Yankee 2013 payroll for its collection of aging and injured superstars is approximately $214 million dollars. The estimate for the average price of a ticket to attend a 2012 game at the new House that Ruth didn't Build was nearly $52. To sit next to Rudy Guiliani in spitting distance to the dugout, costs thousands. It is safe to say that bargains and Yankee Stadium are not usually part of the same sentence.

But for just $5 a ticket (plus a handful of creative fees), I recently purchased a total of 12 seats to 3 games in April and May (desginated "MasterCard $5 Games"), and got change back from a hundred. In fact, those attending the game with me will place their fannies in seats that are normally listed for sale at about 10 times the amount it set me back.

How one might ask, was I able to decide whether to spend my money on either a turkey sub with lettuce, tomato, pickles and a little pepper or watch Jeter perform one more feat of magic? The answer, as Carnac the Magnificent would say, is " the time of year, the day of the week and my son."

Baseball heats up as the weather turns warmer and the schools empty out for the summer. April and May can be the cruelest months on the calendar for teams trying to fill their stadium. I have been to many opening day games in early April dressed in thermal underwear, with ski jacket, wool hat, gloves and even hand-warmers. On one particularly memorable occasion, I watched the players try desperately to stay warm as the snow fell heavily all around. I have been forced to abandon one early season Yankee- Red Sox encounter in the third inning as a combination of the biting wind and cold made comfort an impossibility. Sitting through an April shower does not bring thoughts of May flowers but of something far less serene.

Mid-week encounters can be particularly unattractive and if there is not a natural rivalry or other reason for a fan to leave the comfort of the living room, then there must be some other incentive involved. The BARGAIN.

My son is a master at spotting and pursuing a good deal. Whether it be a 32 inch television that is on a one day only sale, an airline ticket that can be fashioned and finessed to fit into budget and waking hours, or an early season Tuesday or Thursday Yankee game, if there is a way then he has the will. He is both relentless and resourceful and is worth his weight, if not in gold, at least in affordable purchases.

That is not to say that these experiences don't come with economic monsters waiting to attack. If I choose to drive to the game rather than take public transportation, there is the oh so convenient parking lot that is more than happy to take $35 from me (as of 2012)  in exchange for leasing me a small space of real estate for a few hours. And if I don't first eat at home, or dine at the local fast food restaurant across from the stadium, the food concession stands are poised to accept my credit card and my application for a second mortgage on my home in exchange for a hamburger, fries and a soda.

I have been attending Yankee games for more than half a century, and have had the unbelievable good fortune to see many classic moments. My children and I have a place where we have shared laughs, memories and Yankee victories and occasional defeats for the past 25 years or so.

In many ways, as MasterCard's tagline goes, what I have experienced is priceless. But everything, even the priceless, has a price tag attached. It is nice to know that even for the briefest of moments in the biggest city, small and affordable are still possible.

1 comment:

Alexandra Nussbaum said...

Let's play ball!