We stopped in Phoenix for two Spring Training games, sorry, “Cactus League” games. We saw the Brewers-A’s (Brewers lost) and the Brewers-Cubs (Brewers won). For the last eight years we’ve been going to see the Cubs at Wrigley whenever fate shines tickets upon us. Wrigley is a different baseball experience mainly because we could walk to the stadium from our home. We couldn’t walk to either stadium from the Apache Junction KOA, so we learned a few things. Here are our tips to you:
Everybody says you should arrive early. Early is a sucker’s move. Don’t do it. Arrive late. Get there during the 3rd inning or so. You’ll be able to drive right into the parking lot without waiting in line behind a string of cars. You’ll be able to walk right up to will call and grab your tickets. And if you don’t have tickets, you’ll be able to scalp some for at or below face value (the seller is staring at a loss if they don’t unload the tickets by this point). Late is the only way to go. We arrived late for the first game and it was wonderful. We arrived early for the second and it was terrible. We’ll never be early to a sporting event again.
In General Admission, Keep Moving
General Admission seating can be tough — the Wrigley bleachers, the Spring Training lawn. Everybody crowds in right away, so it’s nearly impossible to get a good seat … at first. If you’ve arrived late, you’ll be in a better position to find a good spot because spots start turning over around the 4th inning. During the 5th inning, abandon whatever seats you have and find some better ones. You’ll get even better ones during the 7th inning stretch. Sitting next to a screaming baby isn’t worth it — keep moving if you strike out.
And even outside of GA seating, you can usually get away with moving closer during the final innings. The ushers don’t seem to care, just don’t be a dick about it and slide in closer.
Watch The Entire Game
People start leaving around the 7th it seems — especially people with kids. Others start filing out during the 8th. Don’t do it. Stay through the end of the game. Everybody leaves early for the same reason they show up early — they want to beat the crowd by crowding together. When the game is officially over, traffic is light, parking lots are nearly empty, and everything’s wonderful. But if you want another beer, be sure to grab one before the 7th-inning last call.
Nearly every park allows you to bring a bottle of water into the stadium. Do it. You’ll save a couple bucks and it’s more convenient.
The other thing we learned? Beer is still expensive at games that don’t matter. $7 per. Damn. I thought we’d get 50% off for seeing players give 50% effort.