OK, time for a rant. Went out to the Big Coke Bottle this morning to do some reporting for stories I’m working on, and you know what jumped out at me most as I made the familiar turn onto 3rd St.?
Not Willie Mays’ statue. Not the glorious sight of a clear day on the bay. Not the same ol’ autograph seekers who loiter near the entrance.
No, what jumped out at me is that, in some lots, it’s now $30 to park . Are you kidding me? Thirty bucks? Baseball may still be the most affordable of the major sports, but it really wasn’t that long ago that you could spend an entire day taking in a game and not even spend that much ($10 for a ticket, $5 to park, $8 for a couple of hot dogs, $2 for a malt). And please don’t use the argument that I’m just a fogey misting about the good ol’ days. I haven’t even turned 40 yet.
Anyway, I understand the concept that teams have to generate revenues so they can pay the Barry Zito’s of the world $126 million. And I get that the Giants have limited parking and that there are many avenues of public transportation available. But c’mon, $30 to park? I know teams have always been content to fleece their fans, but has it gotten to the point where it has to be so obvious?
A few years back, I was covering the Sharks in the NHL playoffs, and I was having dinner with a writer from another paper. And he said his expectation was that in 50 years, baseball would resemble the opera. Only the very rich would be able to take it in, and the rest of the world would move onto something else.
Baseball better be careful, because if some teams can charge $30 for parking, we’re a lot closer to that day than any of us would like to believe.