The San Diego Union Tribune is an empty shell of a newspaper, comprised mainly of content culled from wire networks and/or pieced together from discarded fortune cookies. Both my high school paper, TJ Today and my college paper, the Cavalier Daily, routinely contained more original content than any given issue of the UT. So when they develop a particularly hard hitting piece of Woodward and Bernstein style journalism, they want it right up front, where everyone can see it. So as I got bagels this Saturday morning, I was dismayed to see most of the above the fold section of the paper was devoted to the story “Ballpark Suds’ll Soak Ya”
After double checking with family members back East who checked their front page and confirmed that yes, there was still an election, a war and an American Idol competition taking place, I sat down to read the article. Amidst the repeated spit takes, I learned that the Padres have raised the price of beer every year for the past four years, that a 16 ounce bottle of Stone Pale Ale will cost 9 dollars, (six pack price approx. 8 dollars), and that a 20 ounce draft of The King of Beers will set you back $8.50.
Several fans are interviewed, with the main sentiment being “Sure it’s a lot of money, but it’s a ballpark tradition to have a beer!” The sound you hear as you read that is that of baseball owners rubbing their greasy hands together and muttering, “Yes…that’s exactly what we want you to think!” To further emphasize how drastically out of whack the prices are, they interview a bartender at Stingaree, a trendy club a few blocks away.
Pictured above are actual Stingaree patrons. Yeah, you get the idea. These ladies are paying less for a beer than you are at the ballpark. Allow me to emphasize: They are getting a better deal than you. How does that feel? On the other hand, they make up for it by having their boyfriend buy them 300 dollar “bottle service” vodka. But at least with that you get free mixers!
“So what Conor,” you are no doubt saying. “I’ll just go to a baseball game and not have a beer!” Unfortunately, this is impossible, and in some states, illegal. Alcohol was recently banned on San Diego beaches, and as a result, the number of games played of Bocce Ball, Horseshoes and Cornhole have plummeted to trace levels. Tattooed guys now wander the beaches, looking for something to throw in proximity to a target. They just aren’t as fun without beer, and the same applies to baseball. If you don’t want to end so desperate for a beer that you eat the dirt under the bleachers like Homer Simpson, here are some options for how to deal with the egregious beer prices at Petco Park
1. Neighborhood – A two for one happy hour on all local beers from 4-7, M-F. Located a few blocks from the ballpark. “Local beers?” you might scoff. “I heard that San Diego only had FIVE of the top SIX breweries in America, according to Beer Advocate Magazine!” Yes, this is our failing, and a deep shame, one we must deal with it on a daily basis. Get your beers here before their price increases by 400% inside the ball park and your selection is drastically limited!
2. Nalgene bottles – The colored plastic one. You’re allowed to bring your own water bottles in, and damned if everything doesn’t look like water inside a green or red Nalgene. The perfect crime!
3. Your pockets – Men have the ability to wear baggy pants with objects of all shapes and sizes bulging out of the pockets and waltz thru the security line, whereas women are forced to open up a purse the size of an Altoids tin for inspection. Put this discrimination to good use! I have friends who have the ability to conceal an entire six pack on their person on the way into the ball park. Some of the beers come thru warmer than others, but who cares! It’s free!
I’m sure that baseball fans in other cities have their own methods for avoiding the gouging, so let’s hear them in the comments!