By Doug Halberstadt
I know I’m not the first to ever write a column about the price of concessions at a professional sporting event. It’s probably been done thousands of times in newspapers and magazines of every size and circulation. I realize it’s not a unique topic relevant only to this area. It’s something that fans are forced to endure in every arena, stadium and ballpark in the country.
I want to add my 2 cents worth; actually, it’s more like $40-$50 worth. I recently had the good fortune of attending a major league game at Wrigley Field. That good fortune was quickly reduced to pennies, thanks to a few eats and drinks.
Let’s start with the price of hot dogs. A ballpark dog is now $5. I’m not exactly sure, but I think you can buy a whole package of wieners, a package of buns and a bottle of mustard for about that same amount. The more exotic bratwurst was $5.50. I went with a brat, my daughter opted for the more traditional hot dog. Then, we had to have something to wash them down with.
That brings me to the liquid refreshments. We had two diet soft drinks. They were $5 each. That’s $30 a six pack for those 20-ounce bottles. It’s a good thing I was with my daughter. Had I been with one of my buddies, we probably would have chosen an adult beverage over the soft drinks. A 16-ounce aluminum can of your favorite barley pop was $7.50. That’s the equivalent of $60 a gallon; makes unleaded regular look extremely inexpensive at $3.749 a gallon.
A medium-sized bag of peanuts was $4. I originally thought this was the bargain of the day. There were enough peanuts in the bag for both my daughter and me to share. They were fresh, crunchy and salty.
Here’s the part I didn’t calculate into the $4 price tag on that bag of salted, in-the-shell treats: it’s impossible to eat that many peanuts without your tongue swelling to double its original size because of the sodium intake. To survive the remaining six innings, we had to have two more soft drinks. That meant my $4 bargain quickly turned into $14.
What’s a trip to the game on a sunny 85-degree day without a frosty malt to make the seventh-inning stretch complete? That little cup of chocolaty imitation dairy dessert product and the accompanying wooden spoon was another $4. I’ll never again complain about the price of Ben & Jerry’s or Haagen Dazs, at least those products are real dairy desserts. I can’t imagine what they would cost if they were sold at sporting events and came with a wooden spoon.
Don’t even get me started on the $35 hats!
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the May 23-29, 2012, issue