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Ballpark on a budget

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Tim Thompson
September 19, 2011

A complaint I often hear about Major League Baseball is the high cost of taking a family to a game. I'm here to tell you that is malarkey. Sure, the costs add up if you buy full-price tickets at the window, pay for preferred parking and if you decide to feed your family once you are inside the park. However, there are far cheaper ways to do it.

Let's start with the tickets. There are always tickets available on Stubhub.com, oftentimes up until the morning of game day. You can get into most of the remaining games for less than 10 bucks a ticket when purchased through StubHub. How about Craigslist? I've had some luck looking for tickets at the last minute -- those who can't use their tickets will almost always take half price rather than attempting to make ticket soup. Just be careful of who you are dealing with -- not everyone on Craigslist is honest.

Have you heard of the "Uecker seats?" If you go to window 12, 90 minutes before the game you can buy a Uecker ticket to all non-marquee games for $1. That's right, I said $1! There are just 200 Uecker tickets per game, so you'll want to be there early. You may have to stand in line, but you'll get your family of four into Miller Park for less than the price of a footlong sub. The Brewers also offer various promotions throughout the year to fill the seats. Get on their email list and watch for deals on www.brewers.com.

Speaking of footlong subs, lets talk food. Did you know you can take all the food you can eat into Miller Park? Sandwiches, chips, candy, fruit, nuts -- pretty much anything you could want can be carried in. Why not stop for a sub and take that in? Or make some sandwiches and buy a box of crackers. Take a salad. Really, when it comes to food, there is no reason to complain about cost -- it's a lack of effort that will cost you.

Beverages? Carry them right in, too. The rules for beverages are no alcohol, no glass/aluminum, and all containers must be unopened. Get a "cool pack" and carry your water, tea or sports drinks into the game.

I go to a good number of games, and I always hate paying for parking. The fee is unavoidable if you plan to make a day of it and experience the beloved Wisconsin tradition of tailgating. But, if you are looking to see a baseball game without emptying your wallet, you have an amazing (and free) option. Earlier this year the state opened up an extension of the Henry Aaron State Trail from Miller Park to State Fair Park and beyond. You can park (for free) at State Fair Park and walk the 2.2 miles to the stadium. My crew this summer has actually taken a fancy to hauling our bikes into Milwaukee and biking from State Fair Park to Miller Park, but a nice walk works, too.

Not counting the gas money to get to Milwaukee, I'm confident I could take my family of four into, through, and out of Miller Park for as little as a $20 bill. I'm also confident that there are very few daylong, family-oriented destinations that can boast such a low cost.

Have you avoided Miller Park for fear of the cost, or are you spend-thrift, like me? Do you have any suggestions on how to save a buck at the stadium?

Don't forget to join me Wednesday for my 'live blog' on my ride to Wrigley!! Magic number is at 4 and I'm hoping it's the clincher!!



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