06 April 2011

Baseball on a Budget

Last season, there were several so-called fans that would complain about the lack of people in the stands at Turner Field.  They would hint (or, actually, outright say) that Atlanta sports fans were pathetic, and didn't support their teams.  This is simply not true.  I personally know many sports fans in Atlanta, and they are hardcore fans.  The problem isn't that they do not support their teams, but honestly, it's pretty expensive (there ARE 81 home games) and it can be a huge ordeal.

I think anybody who has ever driven in Atlanta has experienced the traffic for which we are infamous.  Game days are especially bad, because they are usually at times when people are getting off of work.  Now just imagine:  You've spent all day at work.  There is a game that night.  Do you go to the game and spend 3-5 hours there, watching in your work clothes?  Or do you go home, shower, eat home-food, relax, and watch it in the comfort of your own home?  I know that, for the most part, I would probably want to go home.  I love the Braves, but the sheer exhaustion of work sometimes really gets to me, and the last thing I want to be around is a bunch of screaming people.  Of course, some days, I would probably love to go.  I'm willing to bet that most nights, I'd think it'd be better to go home--watching it on television is free.  You simply have to put up with commercials and Chip's overexcited commentary.  You can channel surf if you don't like it.  And you can eat not-ridiculously-priced food.

In order to combat this, though, you can be a big dork like me... and make yourself an Excel spreadsheet (or whatever kind of spreadsheet; I just happen to like and use Excel).

Step 1:  Copy the game schedule from the Braves website.
Step 2:  Paste schedule into Excel spreadsheet.
Step 3:  Decide on your budget for the season.  [Yes, I know there are season tickets available for as low as $322, thanks.  But I can't make it to every single game (read above) and I really do not enjoy sitting in the nosebleeds.  I have a mild fear of heights.]
Step 4:  Highlight all of the games that you want to see.  [Important:  DO NOT HIGHLIGHT THE ENTIRE SCHEDULE.  No, really.]  I applied some filters on the spreadsheet so that I could just go through and pick the opposing teams that I want to see the Braves beat.  For example, I love watching them beat the Phillies.  So you filter for Phillies games only, and then you go through and highlight which games you want to see, or that you think you'd reasonably be able to make.  In my case, it looks like I'll be able to go to maybe 3 of those games.
Step 5:  Count all the highlighted games.
Step 6:  Divide your budget by the number of games that you've highlighted.  The resulting number is the maximum amount you should pay per game.

So then, because you've got a rough idea of how much you are going to spend at a game, and what days you'd like to go, you can plan accordingly.  Take "game clothes" and pack snacks and drinks before you leave for work... and then go from work to a nice rousing game of baseball.  

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