Admittedly, I'm a bit out of the loop when it comes to going to a baseball game as an average fan. Truth be told, I think I went to three games last year in a non-working capacity where I sat in the stands and watched the game like most of you. The year before that it was maybe four or five.
And all of those occasions, I never paid for nice seats. My buddies (who buy a block every year) either had them, or else I would pay for the $6 general admission seats and then usually hang out in the centerfield beer garden.
So when it comes to the game experience, I'm admittedly unfamiliar with what the average costs are for fans to go to the game. Other than the $8 for a Miller Lite, I'm pretty much out of the loop. Tickets? Parking? I have a rough idea, but not completely. I'm pretty sure it's kind of expensive.
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What is the purpose or reference for these three paragraphs of blatherings that will most likely you resent me? Well, the Associated Press recently polled a group of baseball fans about the game and certain aspects of it. Here's the story on it.
Here's the full poll and results.
The results are semi-interesting, though not surprising.
The lead of the story is that the soaring costs of going to a game – tickets, parking, concessions – is what a large portion of the fans polled believed is the biggest problem facing Major League Baseball. Officially 45 percent of the fans polled said that was the biggest problem, with 29 percent saying it was players' salary, 19 percent thinking it was steroids and 6 percent saying the length of games.
In the last AP poll conducted in 2006 – it was players' increasing salaries. The same in 2005, but now it's the cost of games.
Look everybody knows the economy is in shambles. And baseball is an entertainment expense. At some point, people will be priced out of it. Many people I have spoken with have already been priced out. For many families, going to games isn't a weekly occasion or monthly occasion, but a once or twice in a season occasion. It's simply too expensive.
Just think if you were trying to go to a game at the new Yankee Stadium.
If you remember last season, the Mariners had 7 of the 10 smallest crowds in Safeco first 17 games. Of course, it was freezing for those games. But the attendance was significantly down last season. Will it continue this year?
Drawing more fans does matter to the Mariners, or Ken Griffey Jr. wouldn't have a $3 million attendance-based incentive in his contract.
But let's get back to the poll other, you'll notice some other results from the poll in this graphic. People want to see the other names on the infamous A-Rod list, and most don't think any steroid user should be in the Hall of Fame.
I'll be the first to admit that polls are far from perfect. But it doesn't hurt to look at the results because some truths can be found. What are your thoughts? Are you surprised at the results? How about a better idea, here's the poll below, feel free to answer it. I'd be interested to see your answers or your thoughts on some of the things asked.
Q1A. Did you personally attend any Major League Baseball games LAST year, or not?
Q1B. How many Major League Baseball games did you attend LAST year?
&bull 5 or more
Q2A. How likely is it that you will personally attend a Major League Baseball game THIS year?
&bull Very likely
&bull Somewhat likely
&bull Not too likely
&bull Not at all likely
Q2B. How many games do you think you might attend THIS year?
&bull 5 or more
Q3A. Baseball is often called "America's pastime." Do you think that statement is still true, or do you think another sport has overtaken baseball?
&bull Statement is still true
&bull Another sport has overtaken baseball
Q3B. Which sport do you think has overtaken baseball as America's pastime?
Q4. What BEST describes your feelings about Major League Baseball?
&bull I'm just about as much a fan as I ever was, no more or less
&bull I'm less interested in the sport than I used to be
&bull I'm more interested in the sport than I used to be
Q5. In your view, which of the following statements BEST represent the biggest problem with Major League Baseball?
&bull The players make too much money
&bull Players use steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs
&bull It costs too much to attend a game
&bull The games are too long
Q6. Compared to the other types of entertainment that you might consider spending money on, would you say that attending a Major League Baseball game is?
&bull A lot more expensive
&bull A little more expensive
&bull Fairly comparable
&bull A little cheaper
&bull A lot cheaper
Q7. How much do you care if baseball players use steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs?
&bull A lot
&bull A little
&bull Not at all
Q8. Which comes closest to your view?
&bull No player who has ever used steroids or performance-enhancing drugs while in the Major Leagues should be admitted to baseball's Hall of Fame
&bull Players should not be excluded automatically from baseball's Hall of Fame because of the use of steroids or performance-enhancing drugs
Q9. As you may know, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees appeared on a list of 104 players who tested positive for steroids in 2003. The names of the other players on that list have not been made public. Now that his name is out, which of the following do you think would be most fair?
&bull The names of the other players on the list should remain private
&bull The entire list should be made public
Q10. This will be the first full season in which umpires will use instant replay to review home run calls. Do you think introducing replay into baseball was a good idea or a bad idea?
&bull Good idea
&bull Bad idea
Q11A. Do you think the use of replay in baseball should be expanded beyond home run calls, or not?
&bull Not expanded
Q11B. Would you favor or oppose expanding replay to cover…
&bull Foul balls down the line
&bull Plays and bases
&bull Balls and strikes
Q12. How interested were you in following the World Baseball Classic?
&bull Very interested
&bull Somewhat interested
&bull Not too interested
&bull Not at all interested