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Finances & Money

Night at the Ballpark

Orioles vs pirates baseball game
Photo taken using my cellphone

We’ve had a trip to see the Baltimore Orioles play the Pittsburgh Pirates in Baltimore on the calendar for months, and the game finally happened this weekend. I was fretting about it because we had planned some painting projects this weekend and we just didn’t seem to have much free time. Stacie’s work friend and her husband were to meet us at our house and we would drive to the game together.

I wasn’t sure how much the tickets were (our friend got them), how much we owed, or even how to get to the ballpark, and to make everything “better”, it started to thunderstorm right before our guests arrived. And the weather projections showed we were driving right through the storm’s path to Baltimore.

The guests arrived at about 4pm (the game was at 7pm). After showing them our new Pergo floors (I’ll write about that later), we jumped in the truck. Shortly after leaving the house, though, it poured down rain. I was worried the whole trip would be like this, since I was taking some back roads to I-95. But the rain eventually stopped prior to hitting the interstate, although it apparently did its damage to I-95 South which was horribly backed up. Luckily we were going North!

Even though we were clueless on how to get to the stadium, we found enough signs along the way to get there without incident.

The Cost of Tickets and Parking

I came to learn that our friends got the tickets AND parking pass for free from a vendor. The parking pass put us within a block of the stadium and as you can see from the picture above, the seats were very close to home plate. We had a perfect view of the game and even came close to a few foul balls (thanks to the lefties). But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Dining before the game

We decided to eat outside the park prior to the game, which meant a walk down to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. We didn’t know what was available, and when we were 2 blocks from the harbor, it started to pour again. We ran into a parking garage and managed to get into the main building while staying moderately dry.

We had a number of options, but since the harbor is spread out across a few buildings, we were limited to the one we were in due to the downpour. There was Hooter’s (nah), a food court, Phillip’s Seafood and a few other options scattered about. Unfortunately, the lines for any sit-down restaurants were huge, but it turned out for the best for our wallets.

I got some Thai fast-food, while Stacie got a turkey wrap from a “New York Deli”. My combo meal with a large soda (I wanted to splurge), came out to $9.11. I had veggies, chicken, noodles, and a large drink, while Stacie came back with a large wrap and a cup of water. Guess who’s meal was more. Yep, Stacie’s wrap was almost $10! And the lettuce wasn’t even fresh.

So the current tally is about $20, not counting gas.

Getting to our seats, and the weather

As with the commute to the stadium, getting to our seats was uneventful, if not pleasant. I’m not sure if every section had ushers that wiped the water off your seats prior to sitting down, but ours did. Plus I had a little conversation with him to try to recall who each of the 2 orange seats were dedicated to, but we could only remember Cal Ripken Jr (the other is for Eddie Murray).

As shown in the image above, our seats were great. And even better, the weather stayed cool and (mostly) dry. We did get a few very light mists pass through, but most of the falling water missed us thanks to the draft pushing out from the tunnel entrance behind us. Sorry to the people sitting ahead of us 😛

We sat only a few rows below the entrance, and the ballpark wasn’t packed anyway, so I never felt cramped and getting to the restroom or concession stands was a cinch. Kudos to the designers of the Oriole’s ballpark for the spacious concourses and easily walkable layout.

Dining inside the Oriole’s Ballpark

Overall, I think we would have been better-off dining in the ballpark. None of us really needed a big dinner, and we ended up buying some drinks and a dessert inside anyway. We probably could have saved time by just eating a hot dog, burger or something else inside the stadium, and probably spent a little less cash.

Thanks to my spicy Thai dinner, I was a bit thirsty, so before the game started, I ran out and got 2 waters for $4 each. It hurt to spend that much, but I didn’t have any cash to get it cheaper outside of the ballpark (they take credit card at the food stands inside).

And then later in the game, the funnel cakes were tempting me, so I got one for $4. Again, it’s pricey, but this was all a treat for us. Unfortunately for Stacie, I didn’t feel like spending $4.50 for ice cream with just an inning left to play. Sorry Stacie.

So the new running total is about $32.

Getting Home

As soon as the Oriole’s hit a homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the game, we all jumped up and got out of the park (no point in watching our Pirates walk off the field as losers). We got out to the truck and onto I-95 in about 10 minutes. Wow. And we weren’t even running.

I’m just used to attending Penn State football games where there are about 110,000 other attendees and it takes 90 minutes just to get onto the road, out of the parking lot. Getting out in 10 minutes (from our seats) was just amazing to us. It also helped to have a good parking pass and seats.

The final tally

It’s about 86 miles round-trip to and from the ballpark, so at $4 gas and about 19mpg in the truck, the cost of gas was about $18. Since our friends got the tickets and parking pass (even if they were free), we paid for gas.

In comparison, for us to ride down to the new Nationals Ballpark in D.C. for a Saturday game, we would have spent $9.40 in metro fare for just Stacie and I. It actually cost us less in gas to transport 4 people than it would have to shuttle 4 people via metro (although we wouldn’t have paid for our friend’s fares).

So when all is said and done, we spent about $50 for the night. That’s dinner, dessert, transportation, parking and tickets. Not too bad for about 6 hours of a double-date night, right?

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Sounds like you had a great night that was well worth the cost! What luck to get such an empty night and no traffic, it’s not always like that. I’m less than 5 miles from Camden Yards, and it’s taken me almost an hour to drive there in the past.
    It’s always interesting hearing ‘outside opinions’ of the city of Baltimore. 🙂

  • The cost of driving is more than just the cost of gas. 86 miles on your truck puts you 86 miles closer to needing new oil, new tires, and other maintenance. And you get 86 miles’ worth of depreciation, too.

  • @Johanna, I was going to add that, and was actually going to use the federal mileage rate for the calculation, but by the time I wrote the article, I forgot. Thanks for bringing it up.

  • $50 for an entire night of entertainment…at Camden Yards no less? That’s a steal.

    I have fond memories of Camden Yards. A couple of times, when the White Sox were in town, my parents drove me all the way up there from Virginia Beach to see my hero, Frank Thomas.

    I’ll never forget the first time I saw him step up to the plate, crack a line drive, and then one of the pesky Oriole outfielders jumped up, over the wall to grab the ball, robbing the Big Hurt of his homer. Needless to say I was crushed and am still slightly scarred. 🙂

  • Great write-up. I’d love to check out an O’s game at Camden. I went to the Cincinnati Reds game last night and had the best MLB seats I’ve ever sat in. Fortunately, they were also provided by a vendor, so it didn’t cost anything!

    We’ve got a minor league ball park close by and I frequent that much more often than the MLB games – for proximity and cost reasons. It’s always a great time and I love being outdoors for a few hours watching a ballgame. 🙂

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