A hungry fan finds delight with two pretzels. (Photo by Jameson “Jay” Adams)

By Khadija Banure
Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders
and Adelyn Veras
Lindenhurst High School

Long Island Ducks fan Jeff Reingold and his two daughters, Kaitlyn and Megan, munched on hot pretzels, devoured hot dogs, enjoyed ice cream and slurped soda as they watched their team play the Sugar Land Skeeters on Tuesday night.

Other families had the same idea — nearly all of the Central Islip ballpark’s 6,002 seats were filled with smiling faces sharing sodas and ballpark food.

For Reingold, a long-time baseball fan, Bethpage Ballpark is a more affordable stadium to bring his family to enjoy a game and share his passion with its reasonably-priced food options and free parking. Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are too expensive, he said.

“It’s very different,” he said. “I can afford a family of five visiting this park — it’s a lot more expensive going to Yankee Stadium.”

Reingold and his family are like many others in the United States who choose minor league baseball over its professional counterpart as a cheaper way to enjoy high-quality sports.

According to Minor League Baseball, the average cost for a family of four last season was $64.97. That price “includes parking, two adult tickets, two child tickets, four hot dogs, two sodas and two beers.”

At Citi Field, just ticket costs range anywhere from around $20 to $610 each, according to the New York Mets’ website.

“One of the biggest reasons Minor League Baseball attracted over 42 million fans [in 2014], and over 41 million for 10 years in a row … is the affordability of an outing at our ballparks,” Minor League Baseball President and CEO Pat O’Conner said in an article published by MiLB last year. “When you combine the entertaining promotions with the talent on the field in a safe, family-friendly environment for a reasonable price, you provide fans with a memorable experience.”

Prices for food and souvenirs vary wildly at minor and major league stadiums.

For example, fans at Bethpage Ballpark will pay $18 for chicken tenders with fries, soda and popcorn. At Citi Field, the same meal costs $25— a 28 percent difference. The price of a hot pretzel at Bethpage Ballpark is 4.33 percent cheaper than at Citi Field.

A mother and daughter pick a flavor for their custom-made snow cones. (Photo by Jameson Adams)

The price of food is just one of the factors why fans continue to see the LI Ducks at the beloved Bethpage Ballpark.

Several Ducks fans have been season ticket holders for years, and the free parking and high quality, low-priced food is what keeps them going back.

“The price is so economical,” Kevin Sezeccevaniak, a ten-game ticket holder for roughly five years, said. “Everything about [Bethpage Ballpark] is so much better than what you get from seeing the Mets or Yankees.”

With such affordable prices, families can attend games more frequently than once per season.

“I love the Ducks — love being here — rather be here than being at home, just sitting in front of the TV, “said Sezeccevaniak. “So, for the price that comes with it, I’m just so in love with it and I’m just so in love with being here,” said Kevin.

With lower prices, families are able to create an abundance of memories without breaking their bank.

“I love being here and bringing the family here,” Reingold said with a smile.

Family-friendly prices keep fans flocking to Bethpage Ballpark

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