My son is in the fifth grade.
I have been toting him to Rockies Opening Day games since he was a kindergartner. Today we attended our fifth one together. Like always, I plucked him out of class at around noonish and all the other kids were jealous as hell. They had a substitute. Poor bastards.
The whole Opening Day experience is something that I cherish far more than he does. My family never went to games of any kind - and they certainly never snatched me from school for anything good.
I grew up broke. We (almost) never even went to movies. Both of my parents worked and we barely made ends meet. We watched sports on TV in between sitcoms (and squabbles). Only the Broncos mattered.
I decided a long time ago that sports would be different for my kid.
My 10 year-old would probably rather play MLB Kill Fest 2012 on X-Box than actually go with me to a game - but he acts the part. He knows how much it means to me.
I'm never a penny-pincher when it comes to buying Opening Day tickets. I'm not a season ticket holder and I am always late to the shopping party. I usually start searching for tickets in early March after the game is already sold out. I end up buying my them on Craig's List - usually for about three-times face value. I'm a sucker like that.
I usually just blow off whatever I spend on Opening Day. I try not to think about it. I'm not made of money but I allow myself an early-April indulgence to make memories with my kid. I normally look at it as a safe investment win or lose.
Transportation and parking at the game costs me virtually nothing. I blaze up I-25 in my pickup, park in the Highlands, borrow a scooter and creep my way back over the 20th Street bridge with my kid on the back. Once I get to 20th and Blake I kill the motor and lock the little booger to a parking meter (the scooter - not the kid).
I walked into Coors Field today via the Home Plate entrance at around 12:30 PM - an hour and forty minutes before first pitch. I met dick Monfort. He was greeting fans and handing them purple towels.
I accepted two of the terry-cloth mementos from him and offered him my hand. Monfort shook it - and gave even gave me a left-hand cover-slap. I told him to enjoy the game. I didn't know what else to say. What could I have said?: "Hope you guys got this right"?
I paid $100 per ticket to sit in section 321 (a section I like) Row 16, sets 1 and 2. On the isle. Easy access to bathrooms, Dippin' Dots, Coors Light and a smoking area. Two tickets set me back $200.
With an hour to go before first pitch and prior to taking our seats, my son and I visited the very popular Coors Field gift shop. I was able to resist the wares there but my son wanted a new hat. The one he was wearing was faded and had a Mattress King logo on the back. It had been a freebie. We dropped roughly $30 after tax for a classy felt job for the boy and $10 for a commemorative pin to stick on it.
We headed for the third level.
On our way to our section we stopped for a Coors Light, an order or loaded Tater Tots, a lemonade and a big Dippin' Dots. The total damage on our initial concession run was about $26.
We took our seats in time to honor the various members of America's Military who were present and to watch politicians throw out shitty first pitches. The anthem and the flyover made me cry like they always do and I hugged my son tight.
Then the game started.
The first inning was a disaster. The third inning was, too.
By the top of the 4th my son wanted "real food". We headed down to hit the head and grab more concessions. On this trip we purchased a Coors Light, a grilled cheese sandwich, more loaded tots (for the kid this time), and a double burger. Our second concession run cost about the same $26 as out first.
The fourth inning sucked and the fifth was even worse. By the time my son and I headed downstairs before the Giant's sixth, the Rockies trailed 7-0. It was ugly. We hit the bathroom and snagged another lemonade, a bag of peanuts and a Coors Light. We spent $19.
I bought another Coors Light midway through the 7th inning (at last call). It cost me $5.50 from an isle vendor. I tipped him , of course. I tipped everybody. I doled out $20 in tips on the day.
My experience was fairly typical, I think. My son and I were neither particularly frugal today- nor were we particularly free-wheeling.
I consumed 4 beers. He had two lemonades. I ate a burger and an order of tots. He ate a grilled cheese and an order of tots and we split a large Dippin' Dots and a bag of Peanuts. We sat in the upper decks and paid nothing to park. Still, we burned through almost $350 bucks.
Not every day is Opening Day.
Families have better opportunities to attend Rockies games from a dollars and cents perspective. There's only one Opening Day, though. It would have been a good value if the Rockies had played even half way well. They didn't put any runs on the board, though. They were terrible.
That's the only reason for me to add up the price.
I don't feel like the Rockies respected what I spent today.
I wish I had talked with Dick Monfort on my way out rather than on my way in. I might have been able to think of something to say.