Times are tough financially for a lot of folks right now, including my own family. We, along with many others, have learned how to cut corners and pinch pennies so hard that President Lincoln screams. It can be expensive to be a Cards fan, so here’s some tips for how to be a Cards fan without spending a fortune.
Do the prices at the Cardinals shop online or the gift shop at Busch Stadium really get you down? There is lots of Cardinals gear available at discount stores like Walmart and Kmart. If you’re not one of those fashionistas who need the latest, greatest thing, just wait until the end of the season when the item you want may go on clearance. Be sure to get on the Cardinals’ e-mail list (you can do that here) to receive notices of merchandise sales and ticket specials, as well as a team newsletter.
The best price for game tickets is free, of course, like when someone gives you tickets to a game. If that doesn’t happen for you very often, there are other ways to save money on tickets. The KMOX First Pitch Tickets are a great, inexpensive way to get tickets to a Cards game. I explained more about how this works here. Craigslist is another place you can purchase cheap tickets. Just put the word “Cardinals” in the search box and there are lots of folks with tickets for sale. If you’re an out-of-market fan who lives in a city with a MLB team that the Cards come to play, you could search the local Craigslist for tickets. You can also go to StubHub.com to see if you can score cheap tickets.
All inclusive tickets – You might be thinking, “Diane, are you kidding? Those tickets aren’t cheap!” You are correct – they aren’t. However, if you’re planning on eating and drinking at the game anyway, these tickets may be your best bargain. You can eat your fill (for 2 hours) and drink beer from 30 minutes before the game up until the middle of the 8th inning. You can read about the all inclusive tickets here.
Season tickets – Does the company you work for or someone you know have season tickets? If they aren’t using them for a particular game (and you grovel enough), perhaps they would give them to you.
Getting to and from the game
Driving to and from the ball game can be such a hassle. Highway driving (and the traffic jam after the game) can give you road rage, not to mention the cost of gas and parking. If you are within driving distance of a MetroLink station, leave the driving to your friendly light rail train driver and sit back and relax. The cost of riding the train is only $2.25 each way (and if you work in downtown St. Louis like I do and commute via MetroLink, you probably already have a monthly pass). The Stadium MetroLink station is right across from the Stan Musial statue on 8th Street.
If you live in St. Clair County, Illinois, you can ride the Redbird Express bus to Busch Stadium. Round trip fare is only $5.00. The Redbird Express bus picks up from the water tower at the St. Clair Square shopping mall in Fairview Heights and drops you off at 7th and Clark. There is more information about the Redbird Express here.
Food and drink
Yes, you can bring food and drink (except alcohol) into Busch Stadium. Click here to see the specifications on what food and drink can be brought into the stadium.
If you are going to eat a meal before and/or after the game, there are lots of restaurants within walking distance of Busch Stadium. I have seen people get fast food and bring it into Busch Stadium as well. Just remember that it has to fit into the bag that fits under your seat.
If the beer is too expensive for you, there are a few bars close to Busch Stadium where you can wet your whistle.
If you enjoy watching Cards baseball on TV, subscribe to MLB.TV and watch on your computer, laptop, or smartphone. If you subscribe to a satellite TV provider or cable provider, you may be able to get a cheaper program package if you don’t need Fox Sports Midwest. And if you have a laptop, you can watch MLB.TV anywhere that Wi-Fi is available. For the out-of-market fan, MLB.TV may be the only way to get your Cards fix.
Cards games are broadcast on KMOX radio, which has a far reaching signal. If you’re not within listening distance of KMOX, you can listen to any of the stations on the Cardinals Baseball Network. If you’re not within listening distance of any of the Cardinals Baseball Network stations, you can subscribe to Gameday Audio from MLB.com.
Do you buy a scorecard and keep score (like I do)? Bring your own pencil – it’s cheaper. Better yet, either bring a mechanical pencil or two regular pencils. You never know when your pencil’s going to break.
If you have suggestions on how to save money on your Cardinals habit, please feel free to comment below. Until next time –