Best Ballpark In Baseball – PNC Park?

MLB Ballpark Guides


Best Ballpark In Baseball – PNC Park?

Calling PNC Park in Pittsburgh the best ballpark in baseball doesn’t offend too many people. At the stunningly beautiful home of the Pirates, you will often see signs around the ballpark proclaiming it to be “The Best Ballpark in America”. As far as I know, there’s no outrage about this from fans of other ballparks.

What if the Cubs put such signs around the outside of Wrigley Field? Might Red Sox fans sneer a little bit? And vice versa, if signs appeared around Fenway Park proclaiming it to be the best ballpark in the country, would that not get a reaction from Cubs fans? Just a thought.

As someone who has visited a few ballparks but not all of them, I can say that while the question of whether PNC Park is the “best ballpark in baseball” may be debatable, one wouldn’t have too much trouble making the case.

There’s a lot of obvious things to love about PNC. The view, for one.

 

best ballpark in baseball pnc view

It’s the bridge. The bridge makes it.

From almost any section in the ballpark there is the stunning vista of the downtown Point area of Pittsburgh, linked to the ballpark itself by the Roberto Clemente Bridge painted in Pirates/Steelers/Penguins gold, crossing the Allegheny River.

And the approach to the ballpark from downtown is as classic baseball as it gets—a walk across the Clemente Bridge past vendors hawking snacks and apparel, with the open air and dark blue seats in full view while crossing the Allegheny River by foot. Few ballparks if any could match that.

 

best ballpark in baseball clemente bridge

I would pay for this view, but don’t tell the city that.

Then there’s the ballpark itself—Kasota limestone on the outside; the statues of Bucs greats Clemente, Stargell, Wagner and Maz; the rotunda in left field with views of the ballpark and the city; and the intimacy of just 38,000 seats, painted dark blue in homage to Forbes Field.

And there are some not so obvious things too. There’s the matter of the price of tickets, which may not be a fair attribute to discuss given that the Bucs didn’t secure a winning season there until 2013.

 

best ballpark in baseball pnc

Not even a discussion? Wrigley? AT&T?

But poor performance on the field didn’t stop the Cubs from charging a chunk of change to get into the ballpark for many years. From the most to least expensive seats, Pirates games are competitive in price with any team in baseball.

The architects of PNC Park did a tremendous job building intimacy into the place. The ballpark was not only built with a small amount of seats, it was done without raising the upper level to nosebleed height as it is in many new ballparks. The Pirates brag that the highest seat is only 88 feet from the field, and there’s no question that you’re still on top of the action even in the upper deck. This is something that no ballpark built since has achieved, at least none of the ones that I have visited.

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best ballpark in baseball pulled pork pierogi stacker

Anyone want my extra pierogi?

There’s food selections of all kinds, from the venerable Pittsburgh favorite Primanti Bros. to Chickie’s and Pete’s fries to the BRGR burger joint. You may not necessarily love the idea of a pulled pork sandwich with pierogies on it, but you can’t deny the Pittsburgh-ness of that. And there’s Iron City beer…nothing makes a ballpark like a bad local beer.

I’ve been to ballparks with better food and better access. But PNC is pretty easy to get to by car, and you have the option of using a bus, train or even a boat. Heck, you could ride a bicycle there along the Riverwalk and that would be pretty cool.

But to this observer that isn’t all that important. It’s not easy to get to Wrigley Field, but I don’t care once I see the ivy and ancient scoreboard. And when in Fenway Park, a Fenway Frank tastes as good as any gourmet meal anywhere else.

bast ballpark in america pnc park pittsburgh

Get ready for whatever your favorite was to be #2.

I have yet to see AT&T Park, Safeco Field, Target Field or Coors Field, all of which have been touted as the best in America. Of the ballparks I have visited, I’m partial to Camden Yards, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park—and without doubt, PNC Park in Pittsburgh. On almost every level, PNC is as good as or better than all of them.

So if you ask the writer of Ballpark E-Guides whether PNC Park is the Best Ballpark in Baseball, my answer is: if you think so, I won’t argue with you.

 

yankee stadium seating seats

Yankee Stadium Seating Guide – Best Seats, Shade, and Standing Room.

yankee stadium seating seats

Here is all you need to know about Yankee Stadium seating – at least the seats for the rest of us riffraff beyond the $2K seats. If you’re outside the moat, this post is for you.

If you’re just interested in cheap seats, read this. (And here’s a great guide for parking.) But this piece is the full shebang, designed to help you choose a great seat at each price level.

 

yankee stadkium seating bleachers

High priced scoreboard advertising makes cheap bleacher seats possible!

I’ve even conveniently divided it up by section for you…

The Yankee Stadium Seating Chart + Layout
Field Level Seating (including the Judge’s Chambers)
Main Level Seating
Terrace Level Seating
Grandstand Level Seating
Yankee Stadium Bleachers + Bleacher Creatures
Handicapped Seating
Standing Room Spots
Finding Shade at Yankee Stadium

yankee stadium seating chart

The more blue the sections in the map, the more the fans in that section care.

The Yankee Stadium Seating Chart Layout

There are essentially four tiers at Yankee Stadium. The field level extends to the outfield and behind the bullpens; other levels extend to just beyond the foul poles. The Main level is just above the field level, the mezzanine is generally the club and suite level (which I’ll cover in a future post), and the top tier is the Terrace-Grandstand level.

Bleacher seats are on either side of the 1893 Club in center field but are behind the Field Level seating in the outfield.

Price changes get pretty significant as the seating moves towards the outfield; you can often find sharp drops in price as you move from “Main Level Infield” to “Main Level Outfield”, for example. This is with good reason…the outer reaches of Yankee Stadium seating don’t offer great views, especially in the upper tiers.

Not to steer you away, but this excellent virtual seating chart from the Yankees will help you choose a seat and see the view. But don’t leave me yet!! There are some things you should know first.

 

Yankee Stadium seating field level

Soft seats and cup holders. That’s why you work harder.

Field Level Seating

Field Level seats in Yankee Stadium, behind the first nine rows of Legends Suite seats in the infield and closest to the field everywhere else, are quite nice, with padding and everything. And I’m talking truly comfortable padding, more so than the padded seats at many ballparks. Even the seats extending to the outfield are cushioned (and can be reasonable for some games).

That said, for the price of Field Level seats, they should be massage chairs.

The higher rows of Field Level seats, in the outfield especially, are covered by the overhang of the Main Level. In the highest rows, you’ll see little of the scoreboards. If this matters to you, I would avoid anything higher than Row 12 or so.

There is a significant difference in price between the Field Box MVP seats in the infield and the Field Box outfield seats; the latter are less than half the price as of this writing. The lower infield seats are now even more expensive “Field MVP Club” seats, and include wait service and extra amenities like access to the shiny Field Box MVP Club.

 

judge's chambers

Comfortable seats, but don’t review your briefs in these chambers.

Section 104 in right field is home to the three rows of “Judge’s Chambers”, dedicated to star slugger Aaron Judge. Fans wearing Judge jerseys are selected to sit there, given robes to wear and gavels to pound on the bench. Pretty cool. Send me a selfie if you end up in this spot.

 

yankee stadium seating main level

Yes, people pay an extra hundred to sit in more navy blue seats.

Main Level Seating

The second tier is called the Main Level. These aren’t much higher or further back than Field Level seats, and the price is about a third of what people pay for Field Box. The back rows of the Main Level will miss some fly balls to the overhang, but that’s not likely to be a big deal. Again, though, in the outfield you could lose the scoreboard view.

The best Main Level sections at this price level are Sections 214 and 226; behind home plate are the Delta Sky360 seats (that’s what they’re called now, anyway); these go for a premium price just for club access and popcorn. In Section 226, you could be paying half or less what people one section over paid. Lots of money left over for any Yankee Stadium food item you want to try.

Main level seats are less expensive than the Field Level obviously, but they still go for a fair chunk of change; even in the outfield they can cost more than you’d expect. Given the choice, I might pay an extra $30 or so for a nicely cushioned seat. There are three tiers of pricing for Main level seats; the difference between Section 213 and Section 209 can be $30 or more on game day.

 

all you can eat yankee stadium

Have at it.

The Main Level is one spot for the “All You Care To Eat” package; for a decent price you get a seat in Section 234 and all the hot dogs, pretzels, sausage and Pepsi products you can handle until the 5th inning. Chow down fast.

 

yankee stadium terrace level

This might be a $5 seat night.

Terrace Level Seating

The Terrace Level seats, on the lower tier of the upper level, cost considerably more than the Grandstand seats above them, and there aren’t too many of them in the infield, those seats being the Jim Beam suites that include club access and cost considerably more. Out past the Jim Beam sections though, these aren’t bad seats for the price.

The Terrace level is closer to the action than the Grandstand, which matters at this height. The Yankees actually offer some sweet deals on Terrace level seats for MasterCard holders, including $5 games for April weeknights. For five bucks you may be sitting in the outer reaches, but that’s a great deal just to get into the ballpark.

For the moment, Sections 305-306…the two sections all the way out in right field…are more “All You Care to Eat” sections (and these are cheaper than the ones on the Main Level). Again, it’s just dogs, sausages, pretzels and Pepsi products, but if you’re not picky it can save you a few dollars.

 

kids clubhouse yankee stadium

Featuring enough stuff to make the little ones not want to watch the game.

The upper level in right field is home to the Kids Clubhouse, a great spot for kids to work off their energy before (or during) the game. Good spot to sit if you’re going cheap with the family.

Yankee Stadium has 16 elevators to get to the top tier, eight of which are in the Great Hall, so no need to trek all the way up the lengthy ramps or stairs if you’re not up to it.

 

yankee stadium grandstand

Objects are closer than they appear. But not much.

Grandstand Level Seating

The Grandstand upper deck seating is as good a value as any in the park, costing about the same as the Bleacher seats but with less noise and a much better view of the amazing Jumbotron and rest of the ballpark. As of this writing, you can get $10 Grandstand seats in the outfield for most games, even if they’re the worst seats in the ballpark.

Grandstand seating isn’t as steep as it was in the old Stadium, so it’s less frightening, but the seats are slightly farther away and pretty well up there. This isn’t much of a problem in the infield, but past the bases you may need binoculars.

The nice thing about seeing the frieze at the top of the Stadium is that you know you’re covered in the rain. In the first couple of rows, sections of Plexiglas can block your view, and aisle seats can lose some of the view to railings and fans. There are 14 rows in the Grandstand sections, which should give you an idea of how close your seats are to the top.

 

yankee stadium obstructed view

“Look, I don’t need to see the guy running to first anyway.”

The Yankees’ website will mark some Grandstand tickets as “obstructed view”, meaning there could be a railing or traffic in front of you. Usually it’s not bad enough to refuse the tickets if you have no other option, but it can be annoying.

Sections 407A and 433 are the alcohol-free sections at Yankee Stadium as of this writing; they’re out there, but it’s a good place to take the kids (remember the play area in right field) and is affordable.

 

yankee stadium bleachers

Bald Vinny is in there somewhere.

Yankee Stadium Bleachers + Bleacher Creatures

The Yankees still have the bleacher seats from the original Stadium…hard metal, backless and all, although there are either bullpens or much more expensive field level seats in front of them now.

They can be uncomfortable over a long time, and with no backs, the seating isn’t so strictly defined, so you may be sharing your seat with your neighbor’s cheek. Vendors are not permitted in this area, so you’ll have to get up for a beer.

Bleacher seats are usually the cheapest seats in the park and tend to go fast, but the view is adequate and you are very close to the bullpens. So it’s a decent deal. This is New York, though, and the right field bleachers especially aren’t often a place for someone with rabbit ears or opposing team’s gear.

 

bleachers yankee stadium shade

Yeah, it’s hot, that’s why no one is sitting there yet.

It can get very hot during day games here. Good idea to bring a hat and sunscreen.

Bleachers in left and right field have their own distinctive atmosphere. Seats in left field tend to have more families and less noise. Seats in right field are home of the trash talkers, including the Bleacher Creatures, who nightly execute the “roll call”, chanting each player’s name after the Yankees take the field until the player acknowledges them with a wave or a tip of the hat. The Bleacher Creatures sit in Sections 202 and 203.

Here’s some good news: the Yankees have converted sections 201 and 239 into dedicated standing room areas, so you won’t lose half the field to an obstructed view.

 

batters eye yankee stadium

The glowing table costs extra, but the overall view is nice.

And since you’ve stuck with me this long, here’s a butt-kicking pro tip: if you can find a cheap Grandstand or Bleacher ticket from a season ticket holder, you’ll have access to the Audi Club and the 1893 Club in center field. The Audi Club food is expensive, but this is a relatively cheap way to enjoy a meal with a Stadium view. The 1893 is a great place to duck out of the elements and enjoy a drink with the money you’ve saved.

 

handicapped seating yankee stadium

“Is this the all you can eat section?”

Handicapped Seating

Yankee Stadium is pretty well designed to be accessible. The handicapped Yankee Stadium seating is a little bit far from the action, but the sections are on a raised platform so the view isn’t blocked when folks stand up and cheer. Handicapped seating is much better on the Field Level, but there are plenty of spots in the upper tiers too. If you stay near the infield, the view is still pretty good.

The Yankees have a page on their website dedicated to disabled fans, including help with wheelchair storage and numbers to call. Incidentally, all of the attractions such as the Hard Rock Café and Monument Park have elevators or accessible ramps. The elevators here have large capacities and move very quickly.

 

yankee stadium standing room

“Do they expect us to clean up or something?”

Standing Room in Yankee Stadium

The Yankees recently added new spaces to the assigned standing room areas that already existed in the ballpark, so the Stadium is now a much nicer place to wander around after buying a cheap ticket.
Social gathering spaces include spots on either side of what is now the 1893 Club in center field, the newly remodeled MasterCard Batter’s Eye Deck above the 1893, and the Budweiser Party Decks on the outer edges of the Terrace level. All of these spots now feature drink rails, barstool seating, phone chargers and specialty food options that include craft beers.

The outfield spaces are the former bleacher Sections 201 and 239 that featured those blasted obstructed views. These overlook the team bullpens, and the visitor’s bullpen is in left field should you want to offer friendly encouragement. You may still need to stake out a spot where the restaurant isn’t in your view.

You can get into Yankee Stadium very cheaply with the Pinstripe Pass, an inexpensive ticket with your first beer or Pepsi product included. You can hang out in any of the areas I’ve just listed. (Here’s some Yankee Stadium standing room tips.)

 

yankees standing room

Maybe the thinking is that you’ll buy an actual seat next time.

In addition to the all-access, there are three levels of assigned standing room: on the Field Level (café seating), Main Level and Terrace Level. Field level seems expensive in the lower concourse areas, but table and barstool seating is included (and restricted to ticket holders).

Standing room on the Terrace level is particularly bad, though, behind the handicapped seating which is pretty much always occupied. You’ll probably dislike the view enough to move elsewhere; just get the Pinstripe Pass and take the free drink.

Like many new ballparks, Yankee Stadium has open concourses, so should your seat not be everything you dreamed of, there are plenty of places to view the game from your feet.

 

yankee stadium shade

Maybe the high seats aren’t so bad.

The Best Seats for Shade at Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium seating doesn’t offer great options for shade. The sun sets on the third base side, so the bleachers and the upper level seats in right field will be the last to see shade for night games. Incidentally, you’ll be staring into the sun in right field too.

For day games, the bleachers will always be out in the sun (and remember they’re metal), and most of the Main (200) and Terrace (300) level seating won’t be covered. You might have some cover in the highest six or seven rows of the Main Level.

In the Field Level, the higher rows…about 15 and up…are covered by the Main Level, but keep in mind the view problems you could have with this. The closer to the outfield, the more you lose of the scoreboards.

Rows 6 and up of the Grandstand (400) level are covered by the roof overhang and frieze and usually offer shade and cover even in day games, but they’re way up there…if you’re acrophobic, shell out a few bucks for the upper rows of the Main Level instead.

 

yankee stadium seating seats

Here’s a lot of Yankee Stadium seating.

There you have it my friend…a complete overview of the non-premium Yankee Stadium seating. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful, be sure to click on the ad links in this post and support my sponsors. Thanks!

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Wrigley Field Food – The Complete Menu

Here it is my friend: the complete, ultimate fan’s guide to the Wrigley Field food menu.

Read it well and read it often, because this is important! If a trip to the Friendly Confines is in your future plans, you’re going to want to sample Chicago-style dogs, deep dish pizza and (not or, and) Italian beef. Or find cool nearby places and bring your own.

And of course, you’re going to want to tell your friends about the amazeballs food in Chicago’s North Side ballpark.

 

chicago dogs

Yes, I’m gonna talk about hot dogs. No worries.

Don’t skip anything, but if time is a factor, here’s your table of contents:

The Sheffield Counter Wrigley Field Restaurant
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 1: Chicago Dogs + Other Encased Meat
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 2: Deep Dish Pizza
Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 3: Italian Beef
Other Sandwiches: Chicken, Crispy Pork, and Joe Maddon Hoagies
What About Burgers?
Fries, Nachos + Other Munchie Food at Wrigley Field
For Big Ass Cub Fan Appetites
Dessert At The Friendly Confines
Healthy Wrigley Field Food: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, + Kosher
Want To Save Money On Wrigley Field Food? Check Out This Tip!
And Yes, You Can Bring Your Own

 

The Attached Wrigley Field Restaurant

Because Wrigley has changed so much since my last visit, and time is a factor putting this out, I’m leaving an analysis of the new fancy clubs for a future post. You can read about them here on the Cubs website.

sheffield counter

The Cubs seem to like the word “Counter” better these days, but the food doesn’t taste any different.

The Sheffield Counter restaurant is located at the end of the right field concourse, along Sheffield Avenue, and is open to anyone with a ticket. It’s a small sit down area with tables and window counters, so you can watch construction while you eat.

The Sheffield features rotating “craft dogs”: examples have included a Wrigley Dog that mixes up the Chicago dog toppings into an easier-to-eat relish (what a cool idea!), or a Kimchi Dog with kimchi, pork belly and ginger aioli…and how many times have you wished you get something like that at a ballgame?

You can also order somewhat fancy chicken sandwiches and tacos, pretzel sandwiches like ham and Swiss or beef and cheddar, bison cheeseburgers and dogs, and a healthier items like a vegan Sloppy Jane sandwich. The Big W Burger and Cuban Burger were available here in my last visit.

 

Chef Series wrigley

A Cubs game with Rick Bayless as your chef. You have arrived.
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

It’s baseball, so of course you have to have a chef. In 2017 the Cubs introduced this cool concept at the Sheffield: rotating celebrity chefs showcasing their specialties. For example, Matthias Merges of Yusho fame’s offerings included fries with Chinese sausage gravy, and hot dogs with kimchi and grilled shishito peppers piled on. It’s a great way to sample some of the best in Chicago cuisine…which is a pretty high standard to meet.

The Counter is open two hours before game time, but it does get packed, and you’ll be tight with your neighbor if you don’t arrive fairly early.

 

Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 1: Chicago Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are Chicago, and Chicago is hot dogs. The Wrigley Field food menu includes them in all of the necessary forms:

 

chicago dogs

Poppy seeds, grilled onions…this can really soften the blow of a Cubs defeat.

Chicago Dog kiosks are found in most all of the concourses, on both levels and on the Bleacher Patio. Chicago Dog has Vienna Beef franks or Polish sausages on poppy-seed buns, on which you can add a big pile of raw or grilled onions, chopped tomatoes, sport peppers, mustard, sauerkraut, celery salt and that bright green relish that make it a dog “dragged through the garden” as Chicago visitors call it.

Lines get long at Chicago Dog stands, and people scarf up the toppings, so you should hit one early. They might still be cash-only, so have some on hand. Chicago Dog used to carry bison dogs; there is a separate cart for that now (read on).

 

wrigley field hot doug's

With a logo like this, you know it’s a great dog. (image courtesy of Hot Doug’s)

Hot Doug’s: “Hot Doug” Sohn was the owner of the most popular hot dog stand in Chicago–as in lines around the block popular. He became successful enough to retire, but the Cubs liked his unusual dogs enough to give him a stand in the bleacher section, behind the center field scoreboard. There you go; another reason to get a bleacher ticket at Wrigley. Lines get very long at this stand too; jump on it early if you can.

Hot Doug’s famous dogs are sold in various forms named after Cubs’ greats, which they rotate for each homestand. For example, you might see the Tinker to Evers to Chance double play combination (Trivia question answer: Harry Steinfeldt.):

Joe Tinker: A veal saltimbocca sausage with crispy onions, sage mustard and Swiss cheese.

Johnny Evers: A jalapeño and Jack cheese pork sausage with caramelized onions, sweet and spicy mustard and more Jack cheese.

Frank Chance: A spicy Polish sausage topped with cilantro aioli, pico de gallo and Chihuahua cheese.

 

wrigley field food high plains bison

The logo features a three-legged bison…which is presumably easier to catch.

The High Plains Bison people are the Official Lean Meat of the Chicago Cubs, and they have separate carts at Wrigley that sell hot dogs, Italian sausages and brats made from lean bison meat. On your sausage you can get peppers, sweet onions and/or marinara.

The High Plains bison dog itself doesn’t taste very different from a classic dog except for a smokier flavor, and the meat is leaner and healthier, as they clearly state on this kiosk. I had one in my last trip and it was very good.

So why choose a bison dog? According to the High Plains website, bison offers 45% fewer calories than beef, 87% less fat, and 100% more iron. And of course, you have the option of getting one at Wrigley Field.

 

wrigley field smokies

Nothing says smoked beef like a hand-operated scoreboard look.

Wrigley Field Smokies: I didn’t know this, but smoked sausages were a popular thing at Wrigley, so the Cubs brought them back. The Smokies cart sells hickory-smoked beef sausages with a secret blend of seasonings, and no artificial colors or flavorings. I don’t know how to describe a smoky flavor, but that is the selling point. Smokies are also made by Vienna Beef, and they’ve informed me that they offer them on their website for limited times.

The Smokies are slightly larger than the Wrigley dog and cost a bit more; you can get one with grilled onions and stuff. I don’t see them on the current Cubs menu, so if you can’t find the cart, you can probably order them at Chicago Dogs or another stand.

 

wrigley field food decade dogs

Well, the picture was cool.

Apparently, the Decade Dogs stand is unfortunately no more; it was another spot for unusual hot dogs that were named after the decades when such items were popular, like a 1970s “TV Dinner” dog. The Cubs fetched $1,000 for charity selling the sign. If you want unusual dogs, go for Hot Doug’s or the Sheffield Counter.

 

wrigley field Chicago hot dog

Here, I proudly display my own handiwork of dressing a dog Chicago-style. I get stingy with that neon green relish.

One last note about Wrigley Field hot dogs. If you buy a dog from a vendor as opposed to the concessions kiosks, the dog will be steamed coming from the vendor as opposed to grilled. Not that one is better than the other; the religion of Chicago dogs isn’t clear on the matter.

The vendor steamed hot dog is wrapped up and the roll can get good and mushy, which some folks (including myself) like. Still, you’re missing out on the whole dressing up of the hot dog this way—with a vendor you’re limited to mustard packets.

 

Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 2: Deep Dish Pizza

wrigley field food giordanos pizza

Appetizing isn’t it? And you’re just seeing the one corner of it!

Giordano’s is the official pizza of the Cubs; they even have their chefs on the premises rather than risk leaving this pizza thing to amateurs. As a big fan of Giordano’s deep dish pies, I’m happy about this development; you probably will be too. You can get a six-inch pie here with various toppings or a thin slice…for some reason the thin slices are on the menu too.

I could quote you some reviews about how legendary Giordano’s deep dish is among Chicago natives and visitors, but I’ve also tried it myself, and it’s right there with Lou Malnati’s and the original Pizzeria Uno (which is much better than the chain version) as my favorites.

Part of the Giordano’s deal was teaming up with Vienna Beef to create a Chicago Dog pizza, with all the classic dog toppings. I don’t know if this number is still available, but you can look for it.

While the convenience of trying a deep dish pie at Wrigley is great, Giordano’s has an actual location just a few blocks away, with more selection of pizzas and toppings. It’s just a 12 minute walk from Wrigley, and just steps from the Belmont Red Line Station.

 

Yes, You’re In Chicago, Part 3: Italian Beef

wrigley field italian beef

Is it me, or does the sun shine brighter on Italian beef?
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

For you non-Chicago natives, the Italian Beef is roast beef that is sliced thinly, slow cooked in au jus gravy and seasonings, and then dumped on a roll with hot pepper giardiniera if you like. It’s a little bit like a Philly cheesesteak, but different enough to make it a Chicago thing. You’ll need napkins for this one.

One thing, BTW, don’t call it an “Italian beef sandwich” in front of a native. Just Italian Beef.

Buona Beef is the official Italian Beef of the Cubs. Buona is a popular chain of about 17 restaurants, with an excellent diagram on their site about how to make an Italian beef sandwich. I trust them.

You can find the Italian beef at Bleacher Platform 14, and also at the Chicago Dogs and Marquee Grill stands.

 

wrigley field als italian beef

A nearby and equally authentic authentic Italian beef. (photo courtesy of Al’s Italian Beef.)

Nothing against Buona, but if you’d like to try a classic Italian beef, Al’s restaurant is just a short walk south on Clark Street. Lots more choices of toppings, and Al’s is a true vintage classic in Chicago. And I’m not just saying that because they let me use this photo.

 

Other Sandwiches: Chicken, Grilled Cheese, and Joe Maddon Hoagies

joe maddon hoagie wrigley field

Take it from a Philly guy. It’s the bread.
(photo courtesy of Levy Restaurants)

I don’t know if this sandwich left with Maddon, but just in case it didn’t…the Maddon Italian hoagie comes from the Maddon family’s restaurant in Hazleton, PA, the “Third Base Luncheonette”. It’s ham, salami, white American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, spicy peppers and olive oil. It’s a sub with a nice kick to it.

The curse-breaking manager of the Cubs says himself that the key to the sandwich is the bread and the peppers. He doesn’t know the brand of bread they use, however. The Joe Maddon Hoagie is popular and occasionally sells out, so I’d plan ahead for this one.

The concept of a beer can chicken sandwich is pretty cool, unless there is an actual beer can in the chicken sandwich itself. (I’ve eaten in restaurants where such an item wouldn’t surprise me.) Fortunately, Wrigley does it right: it’s beer-marinated chicken breast with Dijonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomato and bacon on a brioche bun.

Wrigley Field food also includes a smoking variation of the classic grilled cheese sandwich: the Marquee Melter. It’s Gruyere, cheddar and Butterkäse, (one of the remarkably few types of cheeses not mentioned in this classic comedy sketch), along with smoked brisket and caramelized onions. I’ve read that it includes a pesto dip, so be sure to ask for that.

 

wrigley field chick-ago sandwich

Nothing like leaving your teammate a Chick-Ago sandwich in the on-deck circle!
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

Here’s a fun one…the Chick-Ago Sandwich. It’s pickle brined and seasoned chicken thighs with tempura sport peppers, vine ripe tomato chunks, and dill aioli on an onion roll with celery salt. Kind of like a Chicago Dog, but with chicken.

The Wrigley Field food menu also mentions an Italian seasoned grilled chicken sandwich with pesto aioli, and a crispy pork sandwich with breaded pork strips and toppings on a pretzel bun. A chance to go beyond a simple burger.

 

Speaking of Burgers…What About Burgers?

Wrigley Field Cheeseburger

Chef Tony Mantuano designed this masterpiece. This is why the Chef Series is necessary.
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

Wrigley Field now offers a fancy “aged cheddar burger” and the equally popular follow-up “aged double cheddar burger”, and I presume that means the cheddar is aged, not the actual cheddar burger itself. It’s a seasoned beef patty with aged cheddar (ah!), tomato aioli, arugula and house made pickles. The Aged Cheddar creation is at the Classics stands in the corners and at the Sheffield…at the Corner it’s less likely to be heatlamp-radiated.

Various stands throughout Wrigley sell the aptly named Big W burger. It’s basic, simple, and American: a fresh beef patty with American and cheddar cheese, the classic burger topping triad of lettuce, tomato and onion, with secret sauce (something like Thousand Island dressing if I’m not mistaken, since Big Macs still sell). Get crinkle cut fries with it for the ideal American meal.

More on the Impossible Veggie Burger in the Healthy Section…

 

Even More Wrigley Field Food: Fries, Nachos + Other Munch Foods

disco fries wrigley field food

I remember when going disco was a bad thing. This rocks, pun intended.
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

The coolest recent addition to the Wrigley Field food menu is Disco Fries. It’s a souvenir Cubs helmet filled with crispy fried potatoes, and then topped with braised beef short rib (which we know is brilliant), roasted garlic aioli, queso Franco and green onions. You can’t go wrong piling most anything on fries, but only certain ingredients can make them Disco.

Also recently added is the pork tenders, breaded pork strips with Japanese BBQ sauce and cabbage and carrot slaw. I’m not sure what legally constitutes Japanese BBQ sauce; you’d have to ask the Levy people about that.

 

wrigley field food walking taco

There was more chili in it when I purchased it. Honest.

Here’s a picture of a Walking Taco from a Chicago ballpark. Well, okay, I took this one at a White Sox game. But it’s the same deal, a bag of Fritos with chili con carne, nacho cheese, pico de gallo and pickled jalapenos. Not the healthiest thing, but a cheaper and easy snack.

You can find ordinary nachos at Wrigley, including the soon-to-be-discussed Big Slugger Nachos, but if you like your nachos with different stuff piled on them, try the Italian beef nachos at Bleacher Bums. Of course, you need a bleacher ticket for that one…

Finally, Nuts on Clark has unfortunately departed, but Garrett’s gourmet popcorn is a more than adequate replacement. Garrett’s is the famous popcorn maker in Chicago…and you have to be pretty good to be famous for food in Chicago…and at Wrigley you have the choice of their Cheese Corn or Caramel Crisp. Or mix the two and put it in a souvenir Cubs tin!

 

Wrigley Field Eats For Big Ass Cub Fan Appetites

wrigley field food north side twist

The dipping sauces alone could put strain on a marriage.

If you look around the Wrigley Field food stands, especially in the bleachers, you may come across the North Side Twist, Wrigley’s version of the 2-pound soft pretzel. This monster, served in a pizza box, comes with three different dipping sauces chipotle honey mustard, beer cheddar cheese and cinnamon cream. All of which work very well.

They’re not cheap, but it’s easily enough for two people. You should get here early if you want one, these do sell out on occasion.

If you’ve got a nacho jones and/or are sharing, try a helmet of Big Slugger nachos…two pounds of nachos served in a helmet with a ridiculous amount of toppings, including ample salsa and jalapenos.

Two pounds is a lot of nachos, so be sure you can handle this for the cost.

In the past at the Italian Hot Spot stands I’ve seen a Big Cheese Rip-N-Dip, a large amount of focaccia bread covered with cheese and served with dipping sauces. I don’t know if it’s still around, but if you like dipping bread sticks this could be for you.

 

Dessert At A Cubs Game

wrigley field food cookies

“Don’t get any cookie crumbs on my scoreshee… Oh, Prairie City? Never mind.”

Prairie City Cookies are the Official Cookie of the Chicago Cubs, just in case you were wondering. They’ve also been the “Snack of The Day” on the Rachael Ray Show, an equally impressive achievement. You can get a couple of tasty cookies fairly cheaply for a ballpark.

Tripper’s is the place to go for dessert varieties; they have Edy’s ice cream and several other sweet treats like lemon chills, licorice ropes and giant cookies. And on cold days you can get a hot chocolate. Tripper’s and other stands have a frosty malt cup that has been a Wrigley staple for many years. It even inspired this blogger to make her own.

The CC’s Frozen Treats stand not only has different styles of wine coolers and frozen drinks that lady Cub fans like (mai-tais, vodka lemonades, etc.), they also have ice cream in the souvenir helmet for you collectors. The helmet is not actual head-size, though, unless you have an extremely small head.

Want the list of other brand names featured at Wrigley for dessert? Mrs. Fields Cookie Sandwich, Dove Bars, Snickers Cones, Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Bars, and Jim Beam if you count the sugary drinks.
 

Healthy Wrigley Field Food: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, + Kosher

wrigley field vegetarian food

Impossible Veggie Burgers, best enjoyed from the Bartman Seat.
(photo courtesy of the Chicago Cubs)

The aforementioned Impossible Burger is a vegetarian burger with a plant-based vegan burger patty, topped with chipotle lime aioli, American cheese, lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun. Remove the cheese and it’s a vegan burger. It can be found in Left Field Classics, Right Field Classics, and at the Red Line Grill in the bleachers. Apparently they don’t want you near home plate with it.

My celiac-afflicted then-girlfriend did not like Wrigley Field when I took her for a visit (astonishingly, I married her anyway). Maybe this will get her to go again: the Cubs have gluten-free dogs. Go to the Marquee Grill stand behind home plate and ask for one…according to this blogger, you should tell them to use gloves.

Celiacs can also go for veggie chopped salads, pistachios and gummy bears. Grounds Crew and Brews stands have gluten-free Starfruit frozen treats and Wrigleyville Brew House has gluten free nuts and cookies from Enjoy Life Foods. (I’m assuming those stands still exist; if not you can look around for these things.) You may also have some GF options at the Sheffield Counter. Redbridge beer is sold at Wrigley.

The Cubs had sold kosher dogs at several stands, but in 2017 they installed a spot devoted exclusively to the art of kosher food. DanZtand is run by Danziger Kosher Midwest, a caterer based in Chicago. At their Wrigley outpost, you can get Romanian hot dogs, Romanian Polish (?) sausages, and pretzels, and presumably they would be available for Friday night or Saturday games.

For you vegetarians, the Cubs have recently added a roasted cauliflower sandwich…with roasted red pepper pesto, garlicky garbanzo bean spread, and baby spinach. Would definitely assist in digesting the also-vegetarian Giordano’s plain pizza or Garrett’s popcorn. You can also find that chopped salad in most fancier stands.

 

Want To Save Money on Wrigley Field Food? #KillerTip

save money at wrigley field

I felt truly empowered when I learned this.

Because you’ve stuck with me this long, I’m sharing a killer tip with you…

For the first hour that the gates are open at Wrigley, food and non-alcoholic drinks are 25% off their regular price at all of the non-kiosk stands. This includes the Sheffield Corner if you’re looking for something there, but not the fancier items, unfortunately. Still, 25% off anything is great at a ballpark.

The discount comes up automatically, no need to ask for it. Get your Giordano’s pizza early, and then when the price returns to normal, get your fancy chicken sandwich on.

Speaking of saving money…

 

Yes, You Can Bring Your Own Grub

wrigley field subway

Subway subtly gives away the secret for thrifty fans…

It’s becoming more common knowledge now that you can bring your own food into ballparks, within reason. Here is the Cubs official policy: you can bring in a bag that is smaller than 16*16*8, which should be large enough to carry anything you need. Your bag will be searched, and anything that could contain alcohol or be used as a projectile will be removed.

So take advantage of that loophole and save a few bucks…I’ve offered up three places to fill up your goody bag here, but Wrigleyville has tons of other takeout joints, including McDonald’s, Subway, and vendors selling peanuts and water around the ballpark but especially at the Addison Red Line station.

Coming from the north, you can get off the Red Line at the Sheridan station just a few blocks away from Wrigley and stop at Byron’s hot dogs, another classic Chicago dog joint. Get that Dogzilla half pound skinless beef hot dog with the Chicago fixin’s.

Hungry yet? Is that it? Wow, seems like I was just getting started!

There you have it my friends, your full Wrigley Field food menu analysis. Feel free to let me know if anything changes. If you’d like to know where to find any of these items, the Cubs have a listing here that you might be able to use for a while…

Be sure to check back for any changes, and share this with anyone planning a trip to Wrigley!

Cheap Red Sox Tickets – And How To Get Them

Cheap Red Sox tickets? Really? Yes. Believe it or not, you can find them. Especially with all the tips I’ll be sharing with you in this complete and helpful guide. Knowing these things has saved me a bunch of money on Sox tix…and have money left over for a Fenway Frank.

If you want some help choosing a great seat at Fenway Park, check out my posts here and here. But wherever you sit, read on to find out how to get the best deal.

 

cheap red sox tickets sign

Ah, to be among the privileged…people with Red Sox tickets.

Believe me, it really helps to know ALL of your options, but here’s the table of contents for you, in case you want to skip some bits (but don’t):

My Best Tip For Cheap Red Sox Tickets
Buying From The Red Sox Website
StubHub, SeatGeek, ACE and Other Third Parties
Choose The Right Game AND Opponent
The Red Sox Box Office and Game Day Tickets
Red Sox Nation and Kid Nation (Get a FREE Red Sox ticket!)
Cheap Red Sox Tickets in The Scalp-Free Zone
The Red Sox Community
Red Sox Ticket Scalpers
Finding Cheap Red Sox Tickets on Craigslist
To Sum All This Up…

red sox tickets newsletter

“Get ya wicked smaht Red Sox news heah!”

If You Want Cheap Red Sox Tickets, Do This Now

Anytime you’re planning to go to a game, it’s always a smart idea to subscribe to a team’s ticket alert newsletter, and the Red Sox ticket alert is no exception.

It’s not so much that the Red Sox offer a lot of ticket deals, although there are some. But in many cases buying Red Sox tickets at face value is the cheapest way to get them, and the newsletter will help you with that…you’ll know about pre-sales, Sox Pax, Christmas at Fenway events, group tickets, fan clubs, military and student discounts and much more. Students get standing room dirt cheap at most games, for example.

The e-mail newsletter is especially useful if you want to see a game against the Yankees. You can jump on pre-sales and get tickets at face, which is usually as cheap as you’ll find, especially for weekend contests. The newsletter will also alert you to Green Monster ticket sales well ahead of time, and it’s probably the easiest way to get your hands on those too.

It doesn’t happen often, but on occasion, the Red Sox waive ticket buying fees, and that’s a considerable amount of savings. That also saves you the time and boredom of waiting in line for Game Day tickets (more on that in a bit). The newsletter will let you know about this too.

So be sure to subscribe!

Book your ideal Fenway parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!
fenway park parking parkwhiz
Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Red Sox game parking!

A color-coded Fenway Park seating map, with appropriately red-colored “sunburn sections”.

Buying Tickets On The Red Sox Website

The Sox have a nifty 3-D seating map on their website, featuring a scale picture of Fenway with clickable sections, panoramic views and prices from each section…but just so you know, they don’t reveal obstructed views.

Remember there are fees for buying on the website, and they’re ridiculous. For high demand games you might be better off using the box office if you can, even on game day…for low demand games you’ll probably find a better deal with a third party.

The Sox website is best for when you don’t live close and want a high demand game. Typically the cheap Red Sox tickets sell out fast, so the Sox make lower demand games available first, such as April and May weekdays. Again, get on any pre-sales you can for Yankees games or July or August weekend games. Remember, subscribe to the Red Sox newsletter first.

You can now enter Fenway by scanning the tickets on your phone, if you have MLB’s Ballpark app (and you should). If you don’t like your seats…and at Fenway, that’s a distinct possibility…you can upgrade them through the app if something is available.

 

Cheap Red Sox Tickets From 3rd Parties – StubHub, SeatGeek, Ace, Etc…

Regular readers of mine know I’m a big fan of SeatGeek; I’ve found some crazy deals there. In 2019 I paid $26 with fees for two tickets that would have cost $87 through the Red Sox. Good seats too…Right Field Box, just a few rows from the field. To see the defending champions!

Full disclosure, this was a weekday May game against Oakland. I’m not claiming you’ll always find cheap Red Sox tickets on SeatGeek or with another third party. But always check, especially for low demand games, because you may find a steal like I did.

Here’s a key tip: being MLB’s official ticket reseller, StubHub usually has the biggest selection of third party tickets, and you may find a deal there. But in some cases, you may find the very same or similar seats offered through another third party. This was the case in the game I just described…and SeatGeek offered me a slightly better price.

 

“Our ticket selection is huge!”

As far as Ace Ticket…they’re well known in Boston, and are actually pretty good as ticket resellers go. One great advantage of Ace is their prime location, in the path from the Kenmore station to Fenway. You can pick up tickets that you’ve ordered there at no extra charge. ACE makes a point that they don’t add a StubHub fee, which isn’t chump change. If you’re there on game day, you might be able to haggle closer to gametime.

Your best bet with third parties, usually, is to get tickets at the last minute (up to two hours before game time, last I checked). But I wouldn’t always count on this. If the game is really important for you to attend, keep checking for a deal you can live with starting about a week out.

Finally, if you have the luxury of comparing third party sites, be sure to go to the checkout screen on each one and see the full price you’ll be paying…the difference in fees can be significant.

You may need the Ballpark app on your smartphone to scan your tickets, so be sure you have that.

 

cheap red sox tickets schedule

In 2014, the Royals were pretty popular. Even in Boston.

Use The Red Sox Schedule: Choose The Right Game AND Opponent

If you only care about visiting Fenway Park, and you’re visiting Boston on a budget, picking the right contest makes a world of difference in your ticket price. Obviously, you shouldn’t pick a game against the Yankees on a July weekend.

Like most teams, the Red Sox offer dynamic pricing. Opening Day, all Yankees games, and Saturday games in June and July are the most expensive. Second to that are weekend games in June, July and August; then weekends in April, May and September, etc. In the bottom tier are “Sox Saver” games: weeknights in April, May and September. If you can handle the weather, you can often find a great deal. For afternoon games the weather might not be bad at all.

But again, check third parties on these too. If the Sox are having a disappointing season, you could find some steals in September.

 

red sox orioles at fenway

O’s fans don’t see this very often, so maybe it is worth the trip.

Your choice of opponent makes a difference too. If, say, the Orioles are good (OK, I’ll wait till you’re done LYAO at that one), it can drive up demand for Orioles games at Fenway. The Mets and Phillies can also draw sizable crowds, regardless of their fortunes.

Save for the Angels and East Coast hero Mike Trout, West Coast opponents usually draw the smallest crowds and offer the cheapest tickets.

But hey, you might be reading this because you want to find cheap Red Sox tickets for Yankees games, right? Even if “cheap” in this case is relative. And Ballpark E-Guides never backs down from a challenge!

To see the Yankees at Fenway (or the Cubs, when they visit), you’ll save a lot by planning ahead.

 

red sox yankees tickets at fenway

Does this really even need to be said in Boston?

If I lived in Boston, I would visit the box office the day tickets go on sale, and get tickets at face price with no fees. If you live elsewhere, visit the Red Sox website that day, and get your tickets at face value with the fee…which will still be cheaper than the third party markup in almost every case. You can also try the game day ticket option (more on that shortly), but you may be waiting in line for a very long time.

Or plan ahead even further back in time, and get Sox Pax tickets in December…maybe show up for Christmas at Fenway. Sox Pax include a Yankees game and one or more low demand games. Good if you can do the other games…or give the tickets as Christmas presents…but I wouldn’t do this one if you plan to resell the low value games, since you probably won’t get what you paid for them.

As always, pay attention to your newsletter…

Visiting Boston for a Red Sox game? Get 4-star hotels at 2-star prices from my friends at Hotwire!

Click here to book your Boston stay today!

fenway park box office

With a helpful mini-jungle gym for the kids to play on while they’re waiting.

The Red Sox Box Office and Game Day Tickets

As I’ve said, for cheap Red Sox tickets for Yankees and other high demand games, if you or someone else can go to the box office for you on the on-sale date, do it…there are no fees at the box office.

At the box office you can actually talk to a person about what seats are available, including seats in front of each other, which isn’t something you can yet find on the Sox website. It also doesn’t hurt to ask for ticket specials, especially for military members.

Then there’s that popular game day tickets option that savvy Sox fans use.

The Red Sox make a handful of tickets available a few hours before each game. These are usually tickets that the visiting team or someone else can’t use—a player may have brought his wife and can’t sit her next to his Boston girlfriend, for example.

So a few hours before each game, a line of folks forms at Gate E on Lansdowne Street to buy any extras the Sox have lying around.

 

cheap red sox tickets game day

It’s tough waiting in line just steps away from the smell of sausage vendors.

I’ve talked to a few Sox fans about this; they say it’s generally best for one person, since you can only buy one per person and must immediately enter the ballpark after buying them. Lots of folks claim to have gotten very good seats for face value this way.

The Sox allow the line to start forming five hours before game time, but people do line up sooner than that for big games. Fans camping out before playoff games is common.

I can’t guarantee that you’ll get into the park this way, but no one has yet told me they were turned away. As long as you don’t arrive an hour before a Yankees game you should be fine. Keep in mind that you’re looking at a total of maybe 11 hours at the ballpark should you choose this option. I don’t mind that myself; just saying.

The best part? You may land a great seat at face price. With no online fees. Face value with no fees = relatively cheap Red Sox tickets.

 

Sure, it’s great to get ticket deals. But a secret entrance is even better!

Join The Nation – A FREE Red Sox Ticket!

Red Sox Nation is the team fan club, and gives fans chances to score the hard-to-get seats like Monster seats at face price or lower. There are several levels of membership, some of which cost a nice chunk of change, but even the lesser ones still might offer you cheap Red Sox tickets for decent contests.

Nation membership also includes discounts on gear and nearby restaurants, so it should pay for itself fairly easily. The Red Sox even offer a kids’ membership that includes a free ticket (!), and they may have a free ticket-included membership for adults by the time you read this.

If you plan on going to a few Red Sox games in a season and want something resembling cheap Red Sox tickets, have a look at Nation membership. Could be well worth it for you. Again, check your newsletter and grab a membership when it’s available; these sell out too.

Don’t pay ballpark prices for your Red Sox gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Sox items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the game, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…order your Red Sox swag today!

red sox tickets scalp free zone

The trick is actually finding this sign.

Cheap Red Sox Tickets – In The “Scalp-Free Zone”

A little known option to Fenway newbies is the scalp-free zone set up by the Red Sox, which is currently at Gate C on Lansdowne Street, although the location does get moved on occasion. Here fans with extra tickets are permitted to sell them at face price or less; a Red Sox official will monitor the transaction and escort you into the park so that you don’t try re-selling the seats.

There aren’t many tickets sold here—the Sox estimate it to be about 30-50 a game—but it’s definitely worth a shot before you try a scalper. It’s also a nice legal place where you can get rid of your own extras if you have them.

The Red Sox deliberately keep this option low-key, because they don’t want it to attract too many buyers. That’s why you need this blog my friend.

 

cheap red sox tickets green team

With the help of the Green Team!

Help Your Fellow Bostonian

Just putting this one out there.

In happier times, the Red Sox don’t offer a lot of discounts or deals on tickets. But they do have contests and events you can participate in, like Christmas at Fenway or the Picnic in The Park, that could get you entered in drawings for tickets. They’re usually in the Community or Fans sections of the Red Sox website, so it’s worth the trouble to have a look.

If you’re a conscious student and will work for baseball, there are universities that work with the Sox to keep the ballpark clean and the trash sorted out in recycling. You get entry into the park (standing room), a T-shirt and a food voucher, and you can see a game just for doing some cleanup between innings. Save the planet and see a Red Sox game for free. Win-win!

Check out the Fenway Park Green Team program here.

 

red sox tickets scalpers

This gentleman is holding up the universal symbol for “I didn’t read this post”.

Red Sox Ticket Scalpers

There are always plenty of scalpers at Fenway, even though scalping is illegal in Massachusetts. Like with brokers, you could be paying well above face value for tickets depending on demand—you might as well use SeatGeek.

If you try this, bring a seating chart to get an idea of where your seats are, and check the ticket for the correct date and opponent, and that there isn’t an “OV” stamped on the ticket. OV means Obstructed View…you don’t want that.

Ticket prices plummet after the game starts, but that’s no fun unless you’re late to begin with. Brokers generally line up near the Kenmore MBTA station, and in the path from there to the ballpark. You can haggle, but these guys are tough, so you may be dealing with a few of them if you walk away. If you’re lucky, you may find someone with extras, especially for a rainout makeup game. Hold up the number of fingers to show how many you need.

My buddy Andrew Van Cleve has forgotten more about how to scalp tickets than I’ll ever know; he is an absolute genius at haggling and has some great stories about his scores. If you want to read some great tips, check out his blog on the subject.

 

Finding Cheap Red Sox Tickets on Craigslist

I’m sure there are fans that can tell you stories about the deal they scored on Craigslist for any baseball tickets, and I’m sure probably 98% of those cases are legit. But you don’t want to be in that 2%.

I talk more about buying baseball tickets on Craigslist here, but basically the same rules apply that you would use buying from a scalper: meet with the seller in person in a public place, check the tickets for smudged ink, scissor marks or other anomalies, and bring someone with you for the transaction. Get as much information about the person as you can, and especially find out if they are season ticket holders if possible.

Trust your gut…just as with a scalper, if something doesn’t seem right, walk away.

 

red sox tickets fenway park

And congratulations on scoring Red Sox tickets!

To Sum This All Up…

…for cheap Red Sox tickets, plan ahead as much as possible. Subscribe to the Red Sox ticket alerts, and pay attention to their e-mails, choose the lowest value contest you can, and compare prices with SeatGeek and other third parties. You can score great deals on Red Sox tickets, but it takes a little work.

Hopefully what you’ve read helps…take advantage of all your ticket buying avenues! Bookmark this and review it next time you’ve got a Red Sox game at Fenway in mind.

Hope you enjoyed these tips. Thanks for reading, and for supporting my sponsors!

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, this website earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

Complete Nationals Park Guide – Seating, Parking, Food + Saving Money

So you want to visit Nationals Park? You came to the right place my friend…this complete Nationals Park guide will tell you everything you need to know, especially about how to save money at Nationals games, from tickets to transportation to food.

 

nationals park guide panorama

The home of the 2019 World Champions, in all its glory.

I’ve even broken it down into parts, so you won’t want to break me into parts:

Finding Cheap Nationals Tickets
Choosing A Seat At Nationals Park
The Best And Other Ways To Get To Nationals Park
Nationals Park Food
Bringing The Kids
Nationals Park Accessibility
The President’s Race and Other Stuff

Stop paying ballpark prices for your Nationals gear, carry-in bags, and souvenirs!

Order your essential Nats game items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the game, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…

Order your swag for the 2019 World Champion Nationals today!

OK then, let’s get you started with some killer Nationals Park tips!

 

cheap nationals tickets

I’ll bet you would surprise the crap out of an operator by actually calling and asking about tickets.

Nationals Park Guide, Part 1 – Finding Cheap Nationals Tickets

Finding cheap Nationals tickets – or at least finding the best deal – is all about choosing the right avenue for buying them.

Say you’re looking for a high demand game…such as Opening Day, July 4th, or when the Yankees, Phillies, or Orioles are in town on a weekend. Your best bet is usually to pay face value for tickets, either through the Nationals website or their box office.

So do this right now: subscribe to the Nationals e-mail newsletter here.

The Nats will make you aware of ticket deals, pre-sales, fan club memberships, giveaway nights, etc. It’s a very easy way to score much better deals on Nationals tickets.

 

nationals park guide group tickets

Well worth the effort to park a bus in D.C.

Here’s just a few things the newsletter has informed me about: free tickets for military members; the very cool NatsPass; Value Days with discounts on everything for families; sweet deals for group tickets; you get it. It never hurts to check your newsletter.

If you’re confident the game won’t sell out, visit the box office on game day and save considerable cash avoiding online fees.

For low demand games – weeknight games, April games, etc. – you can often save on face price through a third party, like StubHub or SeatGeek. I’m a big fan of SeatGeek, and they’re an affiliate of mine, so if you want to add them to your ticket searches, be sure to use this link. (And thanks for your support!)

One caveat though. Don’t buy from third parties before tickets go on sale to the public. The only seats available will be from people that have bought from pre-sales, and prices could be ridiculously inflated. Your best bet with third parties is to generally wait until game day a few hours before the game.

 

nationals park scalping tickets

Counterfeit merchandise? You mean the peanuts aren’t real?

As for scalpers, you can usually find quite a few of them, especially on Half Street leading to the ballpark from the Metro station. Check out this bit from my buddy Andrew Van Cleve about haggling with scalpers…he’s the best at it.

And if you’re considering trying Craigslist for tickets, check out my advice here about that.

 

five dollar nationals tickets

Never mind the view from the seat. Check out that price!

Here’s a great Tightwad Tip…as of this writing, the Nats still offer a limited amount of $5 tickets at the box office, on game day, for almost every game. The seating is in Sections 401-402, among the worst seats, but you should be able to move to a better upper level seat. Nationals Park also has some of the better standing room in baseball. (More about that in a minute.)

Five dollar tickets can’t be beat, especially in an expensive town like D.C.!

So remember, subscribe to the newsletter, check SeatGeek, and use the box office instead of the website if you can.

 

nationals park guide seating chart

The Nationals apparently forget about the demographic that just wants to know where Ben’s Chili dog is.

Nationals Park Guide, Part 2 – Choosing A Great Seat

There’s a wide variety of seating sections and prices at Nationals Park. I have provided helpful advice elsewhere on this site…check out this about the cheap seats, or this post about expensive seats, or this post about what to avoid and the great standing room.

But for here and now, I’ll just break it down into budget levels.

 

Nationals park guide premium seating

You wouldn’t pay more for seats this size on an airplane, but in a ballpark? Heck yes!

Really expensive seats at Nats Park include the Delta Club seats behind home plate, PNC Club seats behind them, and the recliners in the Dugout Club that you need to lose a lot of money in a casino to get.

All of these include access to really fancy clubs and great food, in-seat wait service, all of which is nice. In my opinion, though, they’re overpriced for any team, and if you’re looking to score a seat in these sections try looking elsewhere, even though technically the Nats don’t allow resales of premium seats. If you can score a deal, it’s worth it, especially with parking thrown in.

 

nationals park infield club

Unfortunately this nifty scoreboard is gone, but the Infield Club still has made-to-order nachos AND carpeting!

The mid-range priced seats at Nationals Park include Infield Club on the mezzanine level, and most of the field level seating, especially in the infield.

Given D.C. weather in the summer, I would choose having access to a climate-controlled club to field level seats if you’re comparing similar costs. It gets very hot in this place. Plus the Infield Club features great eats with shorter lines, such as brick oven Enzo’s pizza, sushi, a carvery etc., all with places to sit and enjoy.

 

screech

Field level tickets do offer proximity to NatPack girls. And Screech.

But seating on the field level does offer some fine views, and this is a place where you’ll want to stay low. If you can score tickets in, say, Sections 118 or 127, you can almost reach into a premium seat holder’s lap and grab a hunk of “complimentary” grub that they paid twice the price for. (Don’t actually do this.)

Low budget seating includes outer mezzanine seats, upper deck (Gallery) seats, scoreboard porch seats, etc. There’s a large number of cheap seats here, but most of them aren’t great.

The outer mezzanine seats aren’t bad for the price and offer decent shade for afternoon games, but you need to make a trek up or down to find any concessions, so just be aware of that and grab your grub before you sit.

 

nationals park cheap seating

At least they make sportswriters sit further back.

In the upper deck, the 300 level seats cost significantly more than the 400 seats, but they’re worth it. The 400 level here is sky high, and it also involves much more climbing of steps.

That said, I prefer 400 level seating to outfield seating…especially the Right Field Terrace and sections in front of the scoreboard, both of which are very far from the action. The lower level outfield seats under the right field overhang are probably the worst seats in the ballpark, except in the rain…you will have no view of the scoreboard or fly balls.

 

pavilion scoreboard nationals

And in mere seconds after finishing your beer, you can be back at your seat!

One cool thing about upper outfield seating, though, is that it’s close to the upper level outfield concourse that is among the best in baseball…there’s a couple of bars (with drink specials even), and eateries like the Shake Shack and a BBQ joint that shouldn’t be missed. If you’re a ballgame socializer, it’s not a bad spot.

Finally, there’s lots of quality standing room at Nationals Park, should your seat not meet your dreams. In the upper outfield level especially, there are counters to rest your elbows and your grub, mist spraying fans, even some stools if you’re early enough.

If you’re on a strict budget, try the aforementioned $5 ticket and stake out a spot.

 

nationals park metro

It’s what Nats fans do.

Nationals Park Guide, Part 3 – Fastest, Cheapest, and Some Unusual Ways to Get to Nationals Park

Driving to Nationals Park isn’t the worst as big city ballparks go, but it’s expensive, and chances are you’ll be sitting in traffic if you don’t arrive early. Most people recommend the Metro, but we’ll cover all the bases here. (Check out this post if you’re coming from Baltimore.)

The Navy Yard – Ballpark station on the Green Line of the Metro (officially the WMATA, but it’s the Metro to everyone here) is just steps away from the ballpark. It’s also a neat approach, probably by design, with the inside of the ballpark in full view from Half Street and a plethora of cheap vendors lining the path to the entrance. It’s baseball as it should be.

 

center field entrance nats park

Wait! You forgot your cheap peanuts!

You’ll need a “SmarTrip” card both to ride the trains and pay for parking at a station. Needless to say, have enough value on it for the trip back, rather than wait in line behind folks who can’t figure out the machine. (There’s always one.) Parking at Metro stations is relatively inexpensive and free on weekends.

If you’re planning to drive to the game, let me start with this key suggestion: book your parking beforehand with ParkWhiz.

Book your ideal Nationals Park parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!
nationals park parking parkwhiz
Click the ParkWhiz logo and find great deals on Nationals game parking!

OK, now then. The Nationals provide directions from every direction on their website, along with this nice interactive map to help you get to the game easily.

 

washington nationals parking

“Keep driving. I know there’s an R lot somewhere.”

Currently the Nats run seven official lots: the Geico (formerly “B” before the B people pulled out) and C lots attached to the ballpark, which are ultra-convenient and ultra-expensive; Lots L and H a block away on Half Street which cost almost as much; and the more distant T, U, and W lots east of the ballpark. You can buy parking passes through the Nats, but you’ll pay a fee for that. Check your third parties; you might find a deal.

The W lot is the cheapest, most tailgate friendly, and one of the easiest to exit back onto the highway, but it’s a good hike away.

 

marc parc parking

“Yeah, pay Marc. He’s that guy in the phone booth with the funny mask on.”

There are a few independent lots too. The former HH lot some blocks north on South Capitol is still there last I checked, and it’s among the cheapest you’ll find. Long walk, though…longer than the W Lot even.

The best deal for something less than a half mile away is probably off of Tingey Street east of the ballpark. Just east of Lot W are more cheap lots, but they’re also a lengthy walk.

Want to try free street parking? Don’t. Or at least, I highly recommend against it. The city of Washington works hard to ensure you pay out the wazoo for meters during games.

This website, by the way, is all about what you didn’t think of – Here’s a few cool and unusual ways to get to a Nats game:

 

dc circulator

Less crowded than a subway car, cheaper, and a better view. But slower.

The D.C. Circulator bus is a cheaper way to travel around the city; great if you’re making a day around town. The Circulator’s Blue Route stops at the Navy Yard/Ballpark Station entrance. The Blue Route (but only the Blue Route) extends service on game days.

The Ballpark Bus is a shuttle service that carries Nats fans west of D.C. to weekend games. The buses will run if there is enough demand–and there usually is–and the stations are local establishments like Tavern 64 in Reston, making it easy to enjoy a pre- or post-game meal.

 

ugly mug washington dc

It doesn’t look like much, but they’ve cornered the market on Nationals Park shuttles!

The Ugly Mug is a tavern on 8th Street about a mile from the ballpark. They will run you to the game in a golf cart with a proof of purchase, and they have game day specials. Parking is not free or easy to come by, though, so this is best for folks wanting a meal and a drink before or after the game.

There is a specific location for Lyft and Uber riders, on the west curb of New Jersey Avenue between M and N Street. Ride sharing is expensive here, especially with surge pricing. If you can get someone to go in with you on the cost, though, it might work for you, and you won’t have to worry about service being available after the game…like you sometimes will with Metro.

You can even take a water taxi from Alexandria or nearby docks, courtesy of the Potomac Riverboat Company. The price for two is reasonable…about what it costs to park at the game. If you print out the ticket online, parking at the Chadwicks Restaurant is free.

 

capital bikeshare

A bicycle valet may be nice, but a rented bike allows for a quick escape without tipping!

Should you decide to bicycle to Nationals Park, the Nationals actually have a bicycle valet in Garage C. It starts two hours before gametime and closes one hour after the last pitch. The Riverwalk along both banks of the Anacostia makes for a swell bike ride, but I have read about some incidents, so keep your wits about you. I’m told it’s very cool lit up at night, if you’re comfortable cycling then.

Finally, you can borrow a bicycle from Capital Bikeshare; there are several stations near the ballpark, including right across the street.

 

bud brew house washington

I’ll take the table by the window, and watch the grounds crew.

Nationals Park Guide, Part 4: Food + Drink

Since the Nationals Park food menu changes so frequently, I’m just going to cover my favorite mainstays here. You can read about nacho choices here, or some other things to try here. But here’s the truly good stuff:

The Budweiser Brewhouse is the restaurant behind the red seats in left center field. It has indoor and outdoor seating, and it’s best to go either just after the gates open or around the fifth inning if you want a seat.

The Brewhouse sells quality food like steak salad or jerk chicken at ballpark prices. The menu changes a lot, and there’s usually something unusual. It all can be washed down with Bud-owned microbrews like Goose Island and Shock Top. Upstairs is the Bud Light Loft, with a full bar, misting fans, and a bird’s eye view of the game from left center.

 

nationals park bens chili bowl

This chili dog will escalate your opinion of Nationals Park.

The Chili Half-Smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl is a spicy sausage, with Ben’s special recipe chili piled on, along with cheese, chopped onions and yellow mustard. It’s a truly amazeballs chili dog, just grab some napkins and maybe a spoon for the abundant chili. Ben’s also has chili cheese fries, and they don’t skimp on the chili or cheese.

While we’re talking encased meat, Haute Dogs & Fries has some truly innovative offerings of gourmet beef dogs on New England rolls, including the Haute dog with brown onion relish, mayonnaise and celery salt, and a Banh Mi dog with jalapeno, carrots, cucumber slaw, cilantro and sriracha mayo. That’s just some examples…they might be different when you visit.

 

see you tater

And you thought Max Scherzer was a good acquisition.

I’ve loved me some smothered tater tots at See. You. Tater., named for Bob Carpenter’s signature home run call. Get a bowl of tots covered with Buffalo chicken and blue cheese, crab meat and crab queso, or whatever else they may be offering.

Steak Of The Union stands still manage to hang around Nats Park, selling the classic Philly cheesesteaks, and they keep it simple: just beef, onions, peppers and Cheez Whiz. Or get some cheesesteak nachos. I would get a fork for the spillage either way.

 

enzos pizza

This dude knows good pizza.

For pizza, Enzo’s serves up decent pizza in my opinion, at least by ballpark standards, with thin crust and ample pepperoni. It’s greasy stuff though…pat it with a napkin if you care about that.

The Scoreboard Pavilion in right field is home to some cool spots:

The Shake Shack is a Citi Field staple (there’s one in Philly now too) but it is equally popular here; lines get very long for the Shackburger, a fresh beef patty topped with lettuce, cheese, tomato and Shack Sauce on a potato roll. There’s also milkshakes excellent enough to have a separate line, and I can vouch for the quality of the fries too.

 

box frites nationals park

Even the sign looks appetizing.

But if you like fries, Box Frites (another Citi Field delicacy, SMH) is it…crispy boardwalk-style fries with several dipping sauces that change periodically. You might find smoky bacon or black pepper parm sauce or something like that. Try the garlic parmesan fries…you’ll thank me.

The Old Hickory BBQ Grill is fairly new, but Nationals Park’s BBQ has always rocked it. Old Hickory has smoked hot sausage with slaw and BBQ sauce, pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, and pulled pork nachos with house made chips.

You also have some healthy choices of course:

 

field of greens nationals park

Featuring Kevin Costner as Ray Kinshallot. (Admit it, you laughed a little bit at that.)

There’s a Field of Greens stand with mushroom burgers, salads, wraps, and hummus; it’s a good spot for vegan sorts. They also have a Gluten Free Grill in the center field plaza, featuring hot dogs with gluten-free rolls, burritos and pizza; Nats Park has a larger selection than most ballparks with GF stuff.

 

dolci gelati

Is it appropriate to have gelato at a ballgame?

Finally, if you want something different for dessert, try Leilani’s Shaved Ice or Dolci Gelati…Dolci has gelato in multiple cool flavors like “Stracciatella”.

I’m really just scratching the surface here; Nationals Park has a seriously long menu. But I still want to talk about beer and drinks very briefly.

You can find some excellent brews at District Drafts from local breweries like Atlas, DC Brau, Mad Fox and others. Atlas created a special brew sold only at the ballpark called 1500 South Cap Lager, named for the address of Nationals Park.

 

devils backbone

This is right there at the $5 section…so your craft brew could cost twice as much as your ticket. Baseball’s weird.

Or try the Devil’s Backbone offerings at their lodge in the upper left field corner. They’ve developed a brew exclusively for Nats Park called “Earned Run Ale”…a light IPA with a lemon and grapefruit taste to it.

For other mixed drinks, there’s some cool offerings at Distilleries of the DMV and District Coolers spots. Or at any of the bars around the concourse and in the clubs.

Thanks for sticking with me; here’s some Tightwad Tips for Nationals Park food…

 

half street vendors

Notice the people walking past the vendors? You’re about to be smarter.

$You can bring your own food into Nationals Park; they allow a 16*16*8 bag (no backpacks). Coming from the train station, there’s a bunch of vendors with hot dogs, peanuts, bottled water etc. I always fill up a goody bag with a big bag of peanuts and a few big waters for less than $10. Well worth it.

$ – If you’re ordering tickets through the Nationals website, you can add concession credit to your ticket, and they’ll give you a few extra bucks’ worth. Not big savings, but there’s no reason not to use it.

 

five dollar beer nationals game

Not even the Budweiser sign scared off these gentlemen from an ice cold $5 ballpark beer.

$ – In the upper outfield concourse behind the Big Board, the bar features a Happy Hour with discounted beers ($5 as of this writing) that ends 45 minutes before game time. Well worth getting to the ballpark early, even if it’s Budweiser products.

 

nationals park guide kids

The real Nats Park “Rookies” are the adult fans that paid more than $5 for beer!

Nationals Park Guide, Part 5: Bringing The Kids

I’ve dedicated a separate post to bringing the kids to a Nats game, but here’s a few things worth knowing.

The Family Fun Area has simulated pitching and batting cages, a nice kids’ playground area with a jungle gym, a picnic area, photo booths and penny press machines. The racing presidents greet fans here and pose for photos.

Kids can run the bases after Sunday games, and if you enter the kids in the Jr. Nats MVP Club, they’ll get front of the line privileges for this (and believe me, that’s worth the price). Kids club membership also includes team store discounts, a lanyard, and lots of other cool stuff. Definitely look into it for your offspring.

You can get your kid tagged at Guest Services just inside the center field gate, in case he decides to migrate. If it’s the kid’s first game, ask for a certificate.

 

nationals park with kids nursing lounge

Now featuring the seal of approval from Mrs. Ballpark E-Guides.

Recently the Nats added a nursing lounge on the first base side, a private area with comfy chairs, a play area for toddlers, and TVs for busy moms to watch the game. My wife tested it out (she was legitimate) and had nothing but nice things to say about it.

 

nationals park handicapped seats

Thankfully, they placed the disabled seats in front of the counter.

Nationals Park Guide, Part 6: Accessibility

There are handicapped seating areas all over the park, with folding chairs included. There are also plenty of elevators to get to the upper level, and you’ll need them. You can also borrow a wheelchair at the Guest Services locations.

The Ballpark Metro Station is fully accessible, with a brand new elevator. Should you require the elevators elsewhere on the Metro, check WMATA’s website before you go, since they do have occasional issues with them.

You can drop off people by car at most entrances, but after the game, they can only be picked up from South Capitol Street on the first-base side. There are no curbs between O and P Streets on South Capitol, but there is a walkway on South Capitol to ease crossing the street.

 

racing presidents

He may not win much, but Teddy is clearly the most jovial of the Racing Presidents.

Nationals Park Guide, Part 7: The President’s Race And Other Stuff

The President’s Race in the middle of the fourth inning (and the 13th, if the game goes that long) is always entertaining, although it was a little more fun when Teddy Roosevelt never won for various reasons. Teddy’s long losing streak finally ended in 2012, not coincidentally the first year the Nationals won the NL East. (Check out this excellent blog about the President’s Race.)

Remember, once the visiting team is finished batting in the top of the fourth, get your camera/phone out to video the event.

Throughout the season the Nationals have theme nights, like “Pups In The Park”, “Stitch N’ Pitch”, LGBTQ “Nats Night OUT”, or Georgetown cupcake night among many others. Special nights are listed on the Nats website, and they’ll be in your newsletter.

Before Sunday games, two Nationals players will sign autographs for about 20 minutes, so get a voucher at Section 103 (free) and arrive early.

 

n-a-t-s nats nats nats woo

Just in case anyone forgets the words.

There is a cool cheer for when the Nats score: a group behind home plate in the upper level chants “N-A-T-S Nats Nats Nats Woo!”, and repeats it twice for two runs, three times for three runs, etc. The words are now displayed behind Section 313, but it’s grown to other parts of the ballpark and it’s unique to D.C.

Finally, I can’t think of a ballpark I’ve been to with nicer staff than at Nationals Park, and I expect it’s part of their training. Everyone is extremely courteous and friendly and willing to help with any sort of need; and they’re plentiful to boot. Kudos to the Nats for this.

Visiting Washington, DC for a Nationals game? Get 4-star hotels at 2-star prices from my friends at Hotwire!

Click here to book your DC stay today!

There you are my friend…your complete, detailed Nationals Park guide, for fans who do live baseball right. I hope this helps you save some money and enjoy a much better experience; thanks for reading and supporting my sponsors!

 

kurt smith nationals park

You’re welcome…see you at the yard!

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, this website earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

baseball joe

Keeping Up With Baseball Joe

baseball joe

I first met Baseball Joe Vogel on June 12, 2016, while meeting up with friend and fellow baseball road tripper Dan Davies and his group of traveling friends, who invited me to join them in Pittsburgh. He’s become a good friend and I always meet with him when I’m in Pittsburgh.

 

baseball joe vogel

Baseball Joe (center), with Brazilian baseball fan Francisco Dornas (left), Dan Davies (lower right), and the traveling crew.

It was a picture-perfect day at stunning PNC Park, as the Pirates prepared to battle the Cardinals in a late afternoon matchup.

On this day, though, baseball isn’t the only thing on the mind of the Bucs faithful.

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins are in San Jose this evening, set to seal the deal on a fourth Stanley Cup for the city. Which they would, a few hours after the ballgame ends. Penguins jerseys, tees and caps can be seen in large numbers for a baseball crowd.

At one point during the game, a young fan brings out a mock, almost-life-size aluminum foil Stanley Cup and parades it proudly around a section in the right field corner. It gets a round of sustained applause from the excited fans sitting in the area.

But despite being a Pittsburgh native from birth, Joe Vogel is having none of this.

Without warning, as if duty calls him, he springs from his chair in the right field cove and disappears into the concourse. Seconds later he can be seen roaming the section where the Cup-carrying fan was. To the great amusement of his buddies in the cove, Vogel spends several minutes determinedly searching for the fan, who by this point is long gone.

The laughter in Vogel’s section grows louder as his determined search continues well beyond the amount of time one would think the situation warranted. Because after several innings of sitting with this character, they know exactly why he is seeking out the proud hockey fan.

It was to shame him. To frown on him. To educate the young lad on priorities.

Because as Baseball Joe Vogel will always let you know, only baseball matters. Every other sport is a waste of time.

 

baseball joe pirates

The only fan that can throw a baseball around in a concourse and get away with it.

Baseball Joe is deaf and mute from three debilitating strokes. He communicates through gestures and hand signals, with a small keyboard, or on a folded piece of paper with the alphabet on it.

He lives in an apartment in downtown Pittsburgh, a short walk across the Clemente Bridge from PNC Park. Baseball, Pirates baseball, is his life. It has been since he was a young boy. He proclaims himself the “biggest baseball fan anywhere”, and thus far in my near half century of existence I haven’t met a bigger one…which, if you knew my father, is saying something.

The Pirates know him well. He occasionally plays catch with manager Clint Hurdle and even advises him at times via e-mail. Courtesy of a team that loves his dedication, he has season tickets and attends every game in the covered handicapped section in right field, underneath the right field bleachers. He can’t be in the sun for too long. He may be the only fan in PNC Park who doesn’t care about the picturesque city backdrop.

Sitting with him, it’s almost impossible to pay attention to the game, especially as opposing hitters tee off on Pirates pitching as the Cards would that night. Baseball Joe is every bit as entertaining as the action on the field…constantly having conversations with bystanders in his own way, patiently communicating with his keyboard or well-worn piece of paper when people have difficulty understanding his gestures.

He carries a baseball that he frequently tosses to passing ushers, who nonchalantly toss it back to him, knowing the routine. Throughout the game, other team employees stop to greet him. He constantly collects souvenirs and seems to have a never-ending supply of the large soda cups, one of which he shares with me.

 

baseball joe PNC Park

Baseball Joe with his essential ballgame supplies.

Throughout the evening loud laughter is heard in the section at both his knowledge of baseball and his chastising of fellow fans for their comparatively insufficient reverence for the game.

At one point, he asks me if I like any other sports. Forgetting his disdain for the hockey fan, I tell him I like NASCAR too, and he shakes his head. He pretends to be driving a car, and then frowns at me and does the shame symbol with his fingers. He then holds up a baseball and makes a circular motion with his finger. By this point it’s understood. Baseball, year-round.

All night long, it never stops. With his keypad, he fires baseball trivia questions at his buddies…like “Name two players in the Hall of Fame that have the same first and middle names.” A wiseacre in the group replies, with great bombast as if he’s sure of the answer, “Ken Griffey Senior and Ken Griffey Junior!”

As the rest of the group laughs, Joe smiles, turns to me and informs me: Henry Louis Aaron and Henry Louis Gehrig, or Joseph Paul DiMaggio and Joseph Paul Torre.

Later Dan, who took Joe along with his group to several ballparks and the Hall of Fame, told me the story of his wiping up the floor with an interactive trivia game at the Hall. If there was a baseball edition of “Jeopardy”, Baseball Joe would be Ken Jennings.

 

PNC Park Front gate

Home of Baseball Joe.

Baseball Joe holds the distinction of being the first fan to ask for my autograph, at least as an author of baseball books.

At the Pirates game, he asked me to send him the PNC Park E-Guide…and to autograph it for him. He also gave me firm instructions…make sure I sign my full name, middle name included, and do it neatly, which I am not accustomed to doing with my usual chicken scratch of a signature. He’s a stickler, this one, especially when it comes to matters baseball.

Joe loved the E-Guide and raved about it to me in an e-mail…a badge of honor…but he also had a few suggestions: elaborate more on seating, include some photos in the whitespace, and maybe talk more about food and such. He is the first fan ever to complain to me that there isn’t enough information in a Ballpark E-Guide.

He has been repeatedly asking me to send him guides for Wrigley and for Busch in St. Louis, should I ever write that one. I will. I’m always happy to have an audience.

 

citizens bank park philly

Citizens Bank Park from the west.

A few days after the Pittsburgh experience, I met up with Baseball Joe and the group again, this time in Citizens Bank Park in my hometown of Philly. I found them a free parking spot and sat with them in the upper level for the evening. Throughout the evening, Joe kept me entertained, once again more often than the action on the field.

I tell him I am an Orioles fan, and he holds up fingers…first seven and then one. I immediately get it. 1971 World Series. Pirates over the Birds in seven. I was three.

Then he makes a “7” and a “9” with his fingers. 1979. The Pirates, led by Pops Stargell and rallying around the passing of manager Chuck Tanner’s mother, come back from 3-1 to once again beat the O’s in seven games. My response is to hang my head and to pretend to rub tears from my eyes, illustrating the heartbreak of the 11-year-old Orioles fan that year. “I still NEVER dance to ‘We Are Family’”, I inform him.

He nods, understanding. He does the eye rub himself when he brings up the Pirates’ long stretch of down years.

He asks me who my favorite player is, and when I say Cal Ripken Jr., he quickly replies on his keyboard with a stat for me: “Lowest batting average of any player with 3,000 hits”. Sigh.

When I show Joe a picture of my daughter posing with baseball-themed stuffed animals that I’ve brought home for her from my travels, he briefly types on his keyboard and shows me. “You so blessed,” it reads. “Me haves no family.”

I instantly feel both sad for him and guilty about the occasional dissatisfaction I feel with my own life. He’s right. I am so blessed. I not only have two beautiful and healthy kids, I still have time for the only sport that matters.

 

baseball joe

Baseball’s #1 fan.

Long after the crowd has filed out of Citizens Bank Park that night, Baseball Joe manages to make a few ushers uncomfortable with his refusal to leave the seating bowl before collecting as many souvenir cups as he can. You can see clear agitation growing in the ushers’ eyes as they anticipate a confrontation. Joe seems oblivious to the approaching ballpark police, but he exits the seating bowl at what seems the exact moment before the ushers turn snooty. He’s a pro at this.

Back at the hotel where the traveling fans are staying, Baseball Joe and I pose for a picture, and he surprises me with a huge bear hug. Apparently I’ve made a good impression. I’m grateful that he’s not upset with me for showing him family photos.

Joe and I e-mail each other frequently. In his e-mails to me the subject line is almost always “Baseball 24 7 366”—making sure he’s covered in leap years. His e-mails are usually brief but always thoughtful…wishing my family a great holiday season, asking me to send along more E-Guides when I can, and sharing his thoughts on the Pirates’ fortunes. Shortly after the Pirates failed to make the playoffs in 2016, he sent me an e-mail with the words “Pirates eliminated – me cry” in it. For 33 years and counting, this Orioles fan has known the feeling.

I’m always grateful to hear from him. Because whenever I reflect on it, he’s right. Other sports are a waste of time.

And Baseball Joe knows as well as anyone that our time is too valuable to waste.

 

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welcome to wrigley field

Great Gifts For Cubs Fans + Wrigley Goers

welcome to wrigley field

Even if you don’t live in Chicago, you probably have a few Cubs fans in your life. Rooting for the Cubs is a universal sentiment for millions of Americans everywhere. And for any Cubs fans are on your list, I’ve compiled this superb list of ideal gifts for Cubs fans – especially for when they’re headed to Wrigley Field for a ballgame.

Full disclosure here: Ballpark E-Guides is an Amazon affiliate, so if you use the links in this post to purchase an item, this website earns a commission…at no extra cost to you. So thanks for your support!

 

Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 1: Staying Warm at Wrigley

No Chicago native needs to be told how chilly it can get in the Friendly Confines…there’s a reason (cool Wrigley tip coming!) that April games feature the cheapest tickets (that’s the tip!).

But more importantly, fans need to stay warm when this team is playing in October.

 

gifts for cubs fans wrigley

Did you bring your Cubs parka?

So here’s a few gift suggestions for comfort at the Friendly Confines…

First, let’s not take leg warmth for granted. They make some truly cool Cubs socks, so click here to see all of the styles available.

Ever have your feet get cold at a sporting event? All the time, right? I think sneaker slippers are a pretty cool idea! Great for keeping fan feet warm on those chilly October nights at Wrigley, and they actually look pretty cool too. Check them out here.

Next to leg warmth, neck warmth can be overlooked too…so check out this selection of Cubs scarves.

 

gifts for cubs fans cubs win

Finally!

The Cubs fan in your life will love this hooded sweatshirt. And this championship hoodie is pretty cool too. It’s only been a few years since the glorious triumph of 2016 for Cubs fans…short enough to still celebrate the ending of a century long drought, but also long enough that championship gear is available at a pretty nice price.

If we’re talking hoodies, I like this one too…a cubby bear flying a blue W flag with ivy. One simple logo capturing multiple elements of being a Cubs fan at the Friendly Confines.

 

gifts for cubs fans wrigley shade

Featuring plenty of shade for those occasionally warm Chicago afternoons.

You’ll need a windbreaker if you’re sitting in those shaded Terrace Reserved seats (I speak from experience), especially in the early months of the season when the stiff wind blows in from Lake Michigan. This nice looking one from Majestic includes fleece lining and it can even be financed!

And while we all wish cooler heads had prevailed when a fan reached for a foul ball, it’s still a smart thing to keep your head warm at Wrigley. Here’s a nice selection of a few knit hats for the Cubs fan in your life.

 

gifts for cubs fans tees

Nice stuff, but on Amazon there’s no need to haggle.

Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 2: Showing Your Cubs Fan Allegiance

A sea of blue in the stands at Wrigley does not happen without each and every Cubs fan contributing that individual effort. When the Cubs fan in your life is visiting their favorite home for baseball, accessorizing is a must.

Let’s start with the obvious…caps, jerseys and T-shirts.

This here Cubs cap is my favorite style, and I own one myself…the big red C with the walking blue cub. In the interest of honesty, I will tell you that I found mine cheap from one of the ubiquitous outside vendors at Wrigley…but this version is still cheaper than what you’ll pay inside the ballpark.

Stop paying ballpark prices for your Cubs gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Cubs items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the game, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…order your Cubs swag today!

As far as jerseys, Amazon’s prices are much better than the MLB shop…check out this away Cubs jersey here and here to see the price difference (Prices are subject to change, but the difference was close to $40 as I wrote this.)

That said, MLB Shop does have a far better selection regarding jerseys…so far be it for me to tell you to not check that out here.

But again, there’s considerable savings on these things on Amazon, and you can probably find a very cool jersey for the Cubs fan in your life here. I even checked the free shipping box for you!

For lady Cubs fans, what’s a better gift than jewelry? Maybe it’s just me, but MLB team earrings totally works for me. Check out this pair and this pair, equally cool.

 

gifts for cubs fans kids

This was a gift for my then three year old little lady.

Finally, there’s no better way to bring out the awww factor than bringing a tiny new Cubs fan to their first game at Wrigley Field…wearing a Cubs fan onesie of course. (You can tell I’m a dad, knowing what a “onesie” is.) And of course, be sure the baby is wearing a bib for their Old Style milk.

(Yes, I know Old Style doesn’t make milk. Do not think for a minute I’m suggesting filling a baby bottle with Old Style anything.)

 

Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 3: Other Wrigley Accessories

The proper attire isn’t the only thing a Cubs fan needs to bring to Wrigley Field on game day. As regular readers of this site know, you can bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks into Wrigley Field. (Read more about that here.)

 

gifts for cubs fans lunch bag

Thus far, Subway has had no trouble with the Cubs for this sign…

Your favorite Cubs fan will need something to keep all that cheap grub in, right? Be sure to equip them…and let them know about that little loophole the Cubs offer if they weren’t aware already.

This cooler makes a great compartment, even though you can’t bring in alcohol. Store your Subway sandwich or El Burrito Mexicano carry out in it and keep it warm, or grab a couple of bottles of water and keep them cold.

This lunch bag is on the pricey side, but it’s ideal for storing sandwiches or drinks.

Or ladies can use this tote bag, to carry other stuff as well…like any souvenirs they’re buying at the game.

If none of those work for you, here’s a larger selection. But definitely consider a cooler bag for anyone who makes frequent trips to Wrigley. Nothing against the extremely impressive Wrigley Field food selection, but BYO is a big money saver.

 

gifts for cubs fans umbrella

Quite a few unprepared fans in the bleachers here.

OK, so now you’ve got your gear and your goody bag, just a couple more things…remember there’s no retractable roof at Wrigley, so if you’re in the bleachers especially, you could be scrambling in a rain delay to find a covered spot. Or you could sit under this fine umbrella. Sweet, huh?

Speaking of enjoying the Wrigley bleachers, this seat cushion can make life a little easier on the back of your favorite Cubs fan.

And needless to say, every Cubs fan needs to be prepared to wave the Blue W following a Cubs victory…so here’s a perfect stocking stuffer gift for a Cubs fan: a Blue W flag!

 

Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 4: Winter Reading

OK, maybe it’s not something to take to Wrigley, but your favorite Cubs fan still needs to pass the time until baseball season. What better way to do it on a snowy Chicago day than some great Cubs reading? Here’s a few I recommend…

 

gifts for cubs fans accessories

Rooftop tickets probably wouldn’t be a bad gift.

I confess to not yet having read The Chicago Cubs: Story of A Curse, but judging from the reviews it’s very good, and I would certainly get it for a Cubs fan in my life.

I did read the next two, and while Cubs fans are no longer waiting until next year for the end of the lifelong misery, they are still both great reads:

Waiting For The Cubs is from my friend Floyd Sullivan, an exemplary Cubs fan, about the promising and ultimately deflating 2008 season. (You can read my review of Waiting For The Cubs here.)

And The Cubs Fan’s Guide To Happiness is from the authors of The Heckler, a Cubs fan magazine. I lent this one to a Cubs fan friend of mine, and he handed it back to me with one word: “Hilarious!”

 

Gifts For Cubs Fans, Part 5: Because Neon.

Finally, not much to say about this one…nor is it something you bring to a ballgame, but I saw it and decided this sign would be an essential mancave item for a Cubs fan. It is just so…Christmas. (Not the sign in the picture below…if that was on Amazon I would own it!)

 

gifts for cubs fans sign

If they had this sign on Amazon, I’d let you know.

 

There you are my friend, a helpful list of gifts for Cubs fans, especially the ones you see in Wrigley Field from April through October.

By the way, I’m full of other great tips for Wrigley visitors and regulars…I’ve got 1*10^6 ways to save money and enjoy a better experience. Get some great tips for Wrigley and other ballparks by clicking here!

 

gifts for red sox fans

Great Gifts For Red Sox Fans + Fenway Visitors

gifts for red sox fans

So you’ve got a Red Sox fan in your life, and you’re thinking about something that would make a super gift? As a ballpark guy, let me give you my best advice in gifts for Red Sox fans: give them something for their next game at Fenway.

Tickets obviously make a great gift, so here’s an excellent primer on how to find deals on Red Sox tickets for your loved one. But the Sox fan needs other equipment when visiting their favorite place on earth.

Stop paying ballpark prices for your Red Sox gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Sox items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the game, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…order your Red Sox swag today!

Full disclosure: Ballpark E-Guides is an Amazon affiliate, so if you use these links to make a purchase, this website earns a commission at no extra cost to you. So you’re not just buying a super gift for a Red Sox fan, you’re helping baseball fans everywhere!

So thanks. Now then, Red Sox fans know about sitting in a chilly ballpark

 

gifts for red sox fans

You did remember your leg warmers, right?

Gifts For Red Sox Fans, Part 1: Staying Warm at Fenway

Bundle up kids…Fenway Park can be a very cold place, especially in April…and October! So be sure that you look into some of these accessories as possible gifts:

This one is really really cool: sneaker slippers! I mentioned these in my gifts for Cubs fans post, but they’re made for Red Sox fans too: check these out here.

These footie slippers would look great on a lady Sox fan, and they’ll keep her feet comfortable and toasty on a cold game day.

There’s nothing like a knit cap to show your allegiance on a chilly evening at Fenway, and this particular edition is not only the nicest looking but also comes at the best price.

Amazon has a nice selection of hoodies and sweatshirts here

(This one is my favorite, in case you’re thinking of getting one for me.)

And this sweater would be nice for the lady Sox fan in your life.

Scarves are underrated as necessary April/October baseball fan apparel at Fenway, and I think this decorated scarf makes a fantastic looking gift.

And a nice pair of gloves would go great with the scarf. (Are you starting to enjoy the image of your favorite Sox fan decked out like this?) This pair is Amazon’s choice and the price is great.

Finally, if you can manage to bring this fleece blanket into the ballpark on an April evening, you’ll be very glad.

 

gifts for red sox fans team store

Save the Red Sox fan in your life a trip to this more expensive spot.

Gifts For Red Sox Fans, Part 2: Essential Game Day Apparel

You’ll need a cap at a Red Sox game of course, and they’re much cheaper on Amazon than they’ll be at the ballpark (and that may even include the outside vendors). Here is their selection, including a cool green St. Patty’s Day cap.

As far as caps go, I prefer the red cap to the dark blue one, and this is likely a better deal than you’ll find inside the ballpark.

As I’ve stated on the Cubs fan gift post, there’s a much better selection of jerseys in the MLBShop.com store (maybe I should become an affiliate), but if you can find something on Amazon, it will probably be cheaper.

 

red sox fan gifts yankees

Now you know what to get for lady Sox fans.

There is a very cool selection of Red Sox earrings on Amazon…a great gift for the lady Sox fan. (or hey, a progressive guy Sox fan). Check out this pair, or this pair…they’re both great.

And what goes better with Red Sox earrings than a decorated bow? This one is surprisingly affordable…and you’re working it now, buddy.

You can find some really cool tees here (I even checked the free shipping box for you)…

But this one is amazing looking, and I say this as someone who’s not a big tie-dye or Grateful Dead fan.

Then there’s the Citgo logo tee, the reason for which is obvious to any Fenway dweller.

And of course, your tiny young new Red Sox fan needs to show his colors early.

As far as fandom and showing allegiance, do you want to be one of those really weird fans that stands out even in a Red Sox-apparel adorned crowd? Then this suit is for you…go for it! (I’m not sure I would give it as a gift though.)

 

gifts for red sox fans umbrella sunglasses

Note the virtually complete absence of shade.

Gifts For Red Sox Fans, Part 3: Necessary Fenway Accessories

If the Red Sox fan in your life is going to Fenway and is planning to sit in the bleachers, listen up…they are going to need sunglasses! Take it from this Fenway Park expert

Here’s a very cool pair of Red Sox branded sun frames for those bright bleacher afternoons.

Other essential Fenway visitor items include cooler bags, because as you may know, you can bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks into Fenway. (Read more about that here.)

Seriously, share this knowledge when you hand the Red Sox fan in your life their Red Sox cooler bag.

 

gifts for red sox fans cooler bag

Wrap up this beauty of a chicken teriyaki sandwich and sneak it into the ballpark!

You can easily fit your sandwich from the Sausage Connection into this thing

And this cooler bag will just as easily store your sodas and bottled waters (and it’s cheaper).

Obstructed views aren’t the only problem with Fenway’s Grandstand seats. They’re also small and hard to sit on. A Red Sox seat cushion makes a great gift for anyone who likes the Grandstand seating.

If you’re out in the bleachers, or in the Green Monster seats, you’ll want to be prepared if the rains come. Check out this ultra-cool umbrella.

If you’re paying the considerable price for a beer at Fenway, keep it cold. This.

 

gifts for red sox nation

Membership includes a Red Sox fanny pack!

Gifts For Red Sox Fans, Part 4: Car Décor, Books, and the Best Yankee Hater Gift of All

If the Red Sox fan in your life is driving to the game, at least help him or her decorate the car accordingly, with championship accessories…here’s a particularly nice license plate holder, and here’s a car flag…two excellent and affordable stocking stuffers!

OK, maybe it’s not Fenway necessary gear, but while your lucky gift recipient is waiting for the baseball season, they will need some Red Sox reading material.

I confess to not having read all of these, but they are recommended in posts that I’ve read…

This is a best seller from the very popular Jerry Remy, currently a Red Sox broadcaster. I would check somehow and make sure your Red Sox fan doesn’t have it…you can’t go wrong with a Jerry Remy book for a Sox fan.

Stewart O’Nan is a terrific writer, and I don’t need to tell you who Stephen King is. They decided to chronicle an entire season of Red Sox baseball together. In 2004. Again, check and make sure your fan doesn’t already own this one

 

Gifts for red sox fans papi

Yes, this man is this beloved in this town.

Here’s another subject that’s always a winner with Red Sox fans.

Finally, I had to include this book just for the title. It’s almost worth the price for a Red Sox fan just to have it on display in your home.

And while I don’t know if you can buy it anymore, what Red Sox fan wouldn’t want to use this?

 

There you go my friend…some fantastic and useful gifts for Red Sox fans, especially for their next trip to see the Sox at baseball’s most historic and storied ballpark.

Speaking of, be sure to get the Red Sox fan in your life to check out some great Fenway Park tips…have them start here!

 

gifts for yankees fans

Great Gifts For Yankees Fans and Stadium Visitors

gifts for yankees fans

If you’re struggling to choose gifts for Yankees fans in your life, I’m here to help.

Well, at least with the part about what fans need visiting Yankee Stadium. Tickets make a great gift obviously, and I’ve written a short primer here about finding deals on Yankees tickets.

But fans need other stuff too. Check out the very cool gift ideas for Yankees fans below…especially the truly awesome Hawaiian shirt!

Stop paying ballpark prices for your Yankees gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Bronx Bombers items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the game, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…order your Yankees swag today!

So you know, I’m including Amazon links here, and Amazon is an affiliate of mine. If you make a purchase using one of these links, this website earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. (Thanks for your support!)

So here we go…

 

Gifts For Yankees Fans, Part 1: Staying Warm in October

gifts for yankees fans stadium

Just in case you were curious who plays here.

As every baseball fan knows, the Yankees play in October a lot, and cooler weather does hit the Big Apple. Make sure that your Yankees fan gift recipient is prepared for playoff events at the Stadium.

Hoodies make a great gift, and Amazon has a decent selection of them. This one is my favorite, but check out the rest of the selection here.

If you’re going formal, say, attending a game in a suite, you’ll stand out in this fine sweater

Here is a pretty nice Yankees scarf, at a pretty nice price. Or try this one…(Amazon’s choice!)
I love these sneaker slippers, which have been featured on Shark Tank. (They have Cubs and Red Sox editions of these too)…

And these footie slippers would look great on a lady Yankees fan.

The Yankees fan in your life will need this knit cap if they’re headed to the Stadium for October baseball…it’s on the pricier side, but what the heck, it’s a gift. Actually this one is pretty nice too, and a little cheaper.

Stocking Stuffer Alert! Here is a pretty nice pair of gloves for a Yankee fan, because you thought of it!

 

Gifts For Yankees Fans, Part 2: Essential Stadium Items.

gifts for yankees fans tote bag

“We don’t hire marketing people to come up with a fancy deli name, and we pass the savings on to you!”

There are some tools you need when you visit Yankee Stadium…not just caps and tees and gear.
As I’ve noted here, you can bring your own food into Yankee Stadium…this is a perfect way to take advantage of that Stadium loophole and save mucho cash at the game!

If you’re going to pay ballpark prices for bottled beer, at least keep it cold with a sleeve. Try this fine set

I’ve stated in my astoundingly helpful Yankee Stadium parking post that the Stadium isn’t very conducive to tailgating…but Yankees fans travel, right? So get this for your traveling Yankee fan’s next trip to Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago or Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay…

If your beloved Yankees fan is a Bleacher Creature, they’ll need an umbrella for rain delays, and this one is large and colorful.

Stocking Stuffer Alert! And of course, you’ll need a pen to keep score.

 

Gifts For Yankees Fans, Part 3: Gear + Accessories.

yankee gift shop

Who knows when the Yankees fan in your life will make it here?

The Yankees fan in your life needs to blend in with a sea of navy and white in the Stadium, and any extras are a bonus. Check this stuff out for gift ideas…

This outstanding Yankees Hawaiian shirt is on the pricey side, but if you’re willing to shell out a few bucks, it makes a killer gift for those warm summer afternoons at the Stadium.

If you’re looking for something for your Yankees fan dad, this tee is perfect.

Here’s a cool tee for Aaron Judge fans…

And Mariano Rivera fans will love this eye-catching tee.

Bringing a little one to the game? Would anything look more adorable on your little new Yankees fan gift recipient than these sneakers?

Here’s Amazon’s choice, an essential MLB ‘47 Yankees cap. Great price too.

But here’s a fine selection of other hats, including some nice white and pink ones. (I even checked off the free shipping box for you!)

Stocking Stuffer Alert! For the lady Yankees fan in your life, check out this selection of earrings! There’s so many great ones I can’t choose a favorite.

 

Gifts For Yankees Fans, Part 4: Car Items + Other Stuff.

gifts for yankees fans books

Which man pictured here was most responsible for the Yankees’ success?

It’s not all about going to the Stadium…Yankees fans love good baseball reading, and reveling in rooting for the most successful team in sports.

Does your favorite Yankees fan drive to the Stadium? You can order a seat cover, a license plate frame, a car flag, and even seat belt shoulder pads!

Here’s the classic reason why people hate the Yankees.

Stocking Stuffer Alert! Yankees fans, of course, love to talk rings…and this ring makes a great accessory, especially at this unbelievable price.

For some off-season Yankees reading, here’s a great tome from my late friend Harvey Frommer. Perfect coffee table size.

Some trivia knowledge never hurts to start a conversation in the Stadium…

Even though this book is very dated, I’m adding it because I loved it myself so much…Sparky Lyle is a very funny guy and this fantasy novel is one of my all-time favorite baseball books.

Finally, you can’t bring this to a ballgame, but it makes an outstanding mancave addition.

There you go fans, some great gift ideas for the Yankees fans in your life. Be sure to send them to this blog for more great Yankee Stadium advice!

 

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Subway + Taxi Crab Guide

I have tried just about every method to get to Citizens Bank Park: driving my car, using the PATCO-SEPTA transit combination, the Chickie’s and Pete’s Taxi Crab, you name it. In the end it is simple. Just drive. Citizens Bank Park parking is ample and easy enough.

But here’s some things you need to know, whether you’re driving or using some other method to get to a Phillies game…

 

Phillies ballpark parking

Away from the city and close to two interstates, but there’s still traffic.

The Best Way to Get to Citizens Bank Park

The Bank is located on Pattison Avenue near Broad Street, convenient to both I-95 from north and south, and from I-76 (called the Schuykill or Sure-Kill by Philadelphians) from the east or west. South Jersey fans can use I-76 from the Walt Whitman Bridge.

Several exits off of both interstates are considered “Sports Complex” exits, but these get backed up as game time nears, especially when the Phillies sell out. You can use these but from about an hour and a half before game time till about the third inning, you may run into stopped traffic, not good.

My favorite best way to get to Citizens Bank Park is to use one of the Penrose Avenue exits from either interstate, and turn onto Pattison Avenue. This will take you to the ballpark from the less congested west rather than from the east and north like everyone else.

 

phillies parking map

Once you’ve parked and entered the ballpark, the Phillies offer a highly useful map, for next time I guess.

The Phillies have their own lots, and Lincoln Financial Field also has plenty of parking too. Here are a few of my favorite choices as team lots go:

Lot G: Lot G is my default choice at Phillies games, for several reasons. It’s in the path when coming from Penrose Avenue, it’s close to the ballpark, and it’s an easier out than the lots north of Pattison. Lot G, like all lots south of Pattison, is legal for tailgating and it’s close to Xfinity Live! if you enjoy such things.

Lot K (Lincoln Financial Field): If there’s rain in the forecast, try Lot K at the football stadium…there are solar panel roofs over many of the spots, making tailgating possible even in less than ideal weather. The Linc is also right across the street from the ballpark and an easier out (not as easy as Lot G, though).

Lots W and X: I don’t usually arrive from Packer Avenue, but when I do and want to be close, I use one of the lots north of the ballpark. It’s a pretty nice approach from 10th Street; you actually see the inside of the ballpark rather than the exterior, as it was meant to be. Also an easy out onto Packer.

All of the Phillies lots mostly cost the same, but here are a few cheaper choices.

Book your ideal Phillies parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

citizens bank park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Phillies parking!

 

Citizens Bank Park Parking – Cheaper Options

Again, finding Citizens Bank Park parking for a Phillies game isn’t terribly difficult. Saving money parking at a Phillies game can be a challenge, though. So here are three decent and less expensive alternatives to the official Phillies lots.

 

citizens bank park parking jetro

The difference is clear. And the walk isn’t much further.

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #1) The Jetro Warehouse. You have to go south of the warehouse to get the cheap rate, but it’s significantly less. It’s a bit of a walk and not pretty to look at, but good if you want to save a few bucks.

There’s a small breakfast and lunch eatery here called the Stadium Grille, a place that gets good reviews for their cheesesteaks if you want a cheap meal before the game.

 

citizens bank park parking cheaper

Stone construction makes the lot look safe for parking.

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #2) The Church Lot on 10th Street. I don’t know the name of this church or even if it is a church (Google Maps is no help), but it looks like one so I’m running with it. This lot is on 10th Street, north of Packer Avenue and just north of the I-76 overpass. It’s across the street from a football field.

It’s a little further away, and you have to cross Packer Avenue, but the walk isn’t too bad and you can see the inside of the ballpark as you approach. It’s also an easy out onto Packer.

 

free parking phillies game

Squeezing it just inside the yellow paint…champions of thrift!

Citizens Bank Park Parking, Cheaper Option #3) Free Parking! Okay, I’m sharing a couple of secrets to park for free at Citizens Bank Park here, keep them to yourself.

You can, if you’re early enough, park on the west side of 7th Street, north of Packer Avenue; you’ll see signs where you can’t park. Just stay out of that zone. It’s a walk, but it’s free. Phillies ushers do this.

Some streets north and west of the ballpark, like Bigler Street, appear to have free spots; I’ve seen people park on Hartranft Street west of the ballpark, which is almost as close as an official lot. I don’t know if I would do these for night games, though. It’s not a terrible neighborhood, but it isn’t great either.

Don’t try parking on South Lawrence, unless you want to risk a $50-plus ticket.

Those are some less expensive alternatives for parking at Citizens Bank Park, but you have other options to get there, like the Broad Street Line.

 

septa to citizens bank park

Public transit is the key to avoiding traffic!

SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park

While most people drive to Phillies games, a fair amount of people do take SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park, with the Sports Complex station located just a few steps away. There are times when the Broad Street Line is preferable to driving…say, when another event is happening in one of the Philly sports venues, you’re arriving via Amtrak or Regional Rail, or if you’re staying in the city without a car.

So here’s a few things you should know about taking the SEPTA Broad Street Line to a Phillies game:

 

septa broad street line

Gangway! Philly sports fans coming!

SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park, Tip #1) Use The Express. The SEPTA Broad Street Line stops at the Sports Complex at the southern end, making it easy to know which train to use and which direction to go. But you will definitely prefer the Sports Express trains, both before and after games.

The Sports Express skips a number of stops, but most importantly it bypasses everything from Walnut-Locust to the Sports Complex, and coming back especially this is much nicer. If you’re using PATCO from New Jersey to get to the Broad Street Line, the Express means a straight ride with no stops to and from Walnut-Locust.

If you have a choice, definitely use the Express. You’ll thank me.

 

septa to citizens bank park food

Go ahead. They have peanuts.

SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park, Tip #2) Bring Your Own. If you’re using the train to save money, or even if you’re visiting without a car and staying in Center City (that’s downtown for you non-Philadelphians), take advantage of the street grub shops and get peanuts and stuff to bring in. The Phillies allow this, you just can’t bring in alcohol or projectiles. It’s a great money-saver.

My favorite pro tip for using the PATCO-SEPTA combination from South Jersey is to stop at Nuts To You on Walnut Street, which is in the path from PATCO to SEPTA on street level. They have outstanding still-warm bags of roasted peanuts and any other snack you can imagine. I love sesame sticks, and Nuts To You has them in multiple flavors. The place is a true gem.

 

septa regional rail to phillies ballpark

Maybe not when a basketball game is going on, but otherwise fine.

SEPTA to Citizens Bank Park, Tip #3) Consider Regional Rail. The Regional Rail lines spread a web over southeastern Pennsylvania (hence the SEP in SEPTA), and they’re comfortable and smooth commuter trains.

The Regional Rail is a nice alternative on summer weekends. Traffic on I-76 can be hellish on Friday nights especially, as what seems the entire region’s population heads to the Jersey Shore. Park somewhere along the Regional Rail line cheaply and ride the train to Suburban Station instead…it’s a two block walk transfer to the Broad Street Line, but that beats sitting in shore traffic in my opinion. Be sure to check the schedule and know that you can get a ride back though.

If you’re bringing the family on a weekend, check out SEPTA’s Independence Pass. For a price that is likely cheaper than gas and parking, the whole family can ride on the train to the ballpark and back. That one’s good for Sunday games.

SEPTA can be a decent money saver over parking and bridge tolls coming from NJ especially and it’s an alternative to city traffic if you’re staying in Center City (downtown for you non-Philadelphians).

If you’re looking for another alternative to driving to the ballpark itself, check out Chickie’s and Pete’s Taxi Crab.

 

chickie's and pete's taxi crab

Cleverly painted and you’ll hear it.

Chickie’s And Pete’s Taxi Crab to Phillies Games

If you want to know where you can get a meal and/or inexpensive brew near the ballpark, the Taxi Crab from Chickie’s and Pete’s offers the best of both worlds.

Ballpark beers are running $8 and up these days, and we all know how much ballpark food is. At Chickie’s and Pete’s on Packer Avenue, you can get their famous crab fries and a beer to go with it, cheaper than in the ballpark and in a climate-controlled eatery. And they’ll give you a ride to the game in the Taxi Crab shuttle with its cool paint job.

The shuttle is free; unfortunately you have to pay to park at Chickie’s and Pete’s. It costs a bit less than parking at the ballpark though, and your car is valet parked.

In addition to a better deal on parking and an easier exit, you can enjoy a meal at a popular local institution. It’s especially great for visitors for that Philly experience.

 

chickie's and pete's crab fries

At the ballpark, you pay more for the cheese sauce.

So you know, Chickie’s and Pete’s has a stand in the ballpark for their famous crab fries, but they’re much more expensive at the game (they charge extra for the necessary cheese sauce even). You can park at the restaurant itself, order crab fries to go, and get a ride to Citizens Bank Park’s front door.

Besides the fries, Chickie’s and Pete’s has good grub at reasonable prices. You won’t save too much money eating here over eating at the game, but there’s a decent selection of food and a long list of quality beers. It’s a big place, so you can probably land a seat.

So there are several benefits to the Taxi Crab: cheaper crab fries, less post-game traffic hassles, and a less expensive place for a drink before or after the game. Worth a shot for something different.

 

There’s your helpful guide for how to get to Citizens Bank Park; it’s relatively simple. But I highly recommend that you plan your route in—and out. Citizens Bank Park is surrounded by lots, and you’ll want to be sure that you’ll have as little trouble as possible exiting, because it can take a while.

 

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