Yesterday we were invited to watch a baseball team that my day job is sponsoring this year. This is a group of 7-9 year olds who play competitive baseball. This is not the rec center group that we'll be playing on - this is a serious group of young athletes. We paid them $500 bucks to put our banner out at all 75 (!!) of their games these season. The money is going towards their own pitching machine.
We had a lot to do yesterday so we arrived late at the ball park. By our calculations the game only had another 15 minutes and we thought we could catch the tail end. When we arrived at the ball park we were told it costs $5 for each adult to enter the park. Seriously? To watch 8 year olds play baseball?? I think I can get seats at the Royals for $10 on some nights!
We were a little shocked. We hung out for a minute debating if we wanted to cough up $10 for 15 minutes or come to a later game. A parent recognized us at the gate and sweet talked the guard to let us in for free since there wasn't much time left on the game. I asked her if she had some kind of pass to come and watch her child play (since after all, she's paying BIG bucks just to have her kid on this team). She said, "No, we have to pay every time too." Whaaat?? Yup, just this weekend alone her family has dropped close to $40 on gate fees just to watch their child play. That just seems nuts to me. These are kids! These are families who are coming to watch their kid play. You're still going to make plenty of money off of them when they buy your crappy $6 hot dogs!
I realized this ball park was making bank! I couldn't see where the money was going - other than I didn't have to do my business in a Port-a-Potty and they had electronic scoreboards. But the parks aren't the only ones cashing in. What about the companies that sell the uniforms, the batting helmets, the bats, the gloves, the cleats, the batting gloves, the sunglasses that cut the glare and the fancy bag each player has to carry all his gear? I started breaking out in a sweat thinking how much baseball was going to cost us!
The Hubs assured me we would not need to spend near as much since we were doing rec level and the Kid wouldn't need all the special gear. I calmed down a bit.
On the way home, we stopped off at the sporting goods store to get the Kid a baseball glove (Hubs didn't think the $4 one I bought at T.J. Maxx was going to cut it). Did you know a baseball glove costs $40?? Yeah, I didn't either - I shop for ball gloves at T.J. Maxx, duh. Did you know you then pay to have it broken in? Yeah, I didn't know that either. WTF???
OK, so he needs a glove, but that will be it, right?
Nope. We ran into a family we knew who was there stocking up their son for baseball season. He played last year and they had words of wisdom for us.
"He'll need a glove." (Check.)
"A lot of the kids have batting gloves and they do help his grip." (Okay. Batting gloves. How expensive can those be? Quick price check: $20. Are you freaking kidding me??)
"You'll want a bat too, it's just nice to have your own. The rec ones are kind of beat up." (Yaaah, we'll take our chances with the beat up bats. I mean, c'mon, it's still Johnson County, how bad can they be?)
And then their kids says, "Oh! A helmet. You'll want your own helmet!" (Really? I doubt it. Surely the rec provides those! It's a safety thing!) "Oh yeah, they have them," he says. "I got lice from them last season." (Screw the price! The Kid gets his own helmet!)
Have I mentioned we're not even sure the Kid even likes baseball or has any real knack for it?? We're just "exploring" sports at this point to see what sticks. I'm going to drop 400 bucks before this exploration is over! What if he decides he hates baseball and then we're on to soccer next year? Maybe I should encourage him to do track. How much can running shoes cost? (Ha!)
At least the team we watched yesterday have boys who know they love baseball and are actually pretty good at it, so you don't mind shelling out so much money - it's an investment - with my kid, it's a gamble and we all know, the house always wins.
UPDATE: The team we sponsored won the World Series of their division. So I guess their parents' "investments" paid off. Gomer played one season of baseball and spent most of the time sitting in the outfield picking flowers in his white $25 pants! (I forgot to add OxyClean to my list of baseball must-haves.) This year we tried soccer and besides Adolpha's broken arm we all enjoyed soccer. I think soccer will be the sport for this family.