Colorado is lucky to have one of the most beautiful and exciting baseball stadiums in the country. Coors Field is consistently ranked in the top 10 across the majors. Unfortunately, except for a couple amazing Octobers (Rocktobers) in 2007 and 2009, the highs and lows—mostly lows—of the local pro Baseball team quickly fade from memory as soon as the NFL regular season starts. This year there was a glimmer of hope, as the Rockies flirted with contention—only to watch fans’ playoff hopes dashed with a seemingly endless streak of late-game bullpen fiascos.
But just because the team is all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs doesn’t mean you and your family can’t get one more picturesque evening in at Coors Field. And for way less than you usually budget for.
The secret to a shockingly cheap September night at the ballpark is a perfect storm of savings—a hidden parking gem, a concessions loophole, cheap tickets, and the pinnacle of frugal ballpark promotions. (WARNING: several terrible baseball puns await.)
Parking: a Diamond in the Rough
See what we did there? Diamond as in a baseball diamond? No? Okay, moving on. One of the biggest hidden costs for taking in a Rockies game can be parking. A lot of people opt to skip driving altogether and take the light rail. If you’re going alone, or as a couple, this may be optimal—depending on where you live, a light rail ticket will run you $5.20 per person, which is cheaper than the $20 most lots around LoDo will charge. For those of you outside the metro area—or who just don’t feel like hauling your whole clan onto a crowded light rail car—there’s a ridiculously cheap garage locate at 15th and Wynkoop that charges just $5 per vehicle. It’s only a five or six block walk to the stadium. Talk about (wait for it) a home run.
Concessions: Bring Your Own
Something most seasoned fans know, but the Rockies ownership hopes you don’t, is that since Coors Field was paid for with public money (thank you taxpayers) fans are free to bring their own food and drinks as long as they comply with Major League Baseball rules. The only real limitations: coolers must be no larger than 16”x16”x8” and have to be soft, no alcohol (that’s going to cost you inside, naturally), and drinks have to be sealed. Otherwise, you’re free to bring anything you want. A 6-pack of 20 ounce soft drinks will run you about $3, or you can always buy some outside the park for about $2 a pop. Likewise, bring your own peanuts, sunflower seeds, and other snacks to save a bundle. If you go with the vendors outside the stadium, there’s a small premium, but nowhere near what you would spend inside the park. On the high end, for soda and peanuts for four people, expect to shell out about $10.
Tickets: the Cheap Seats
If you’ve been a Rockies fan for a while, you know where this is going. The Rockpile is one of the best parts of Coors Field. Are they the best seats? No. But are they the worst? Certainly not. While some people opt for trying to snag them on the day of the game, we recommend buying them in advance, which bumps the price up slightly, but guarantees you’ll have tickets for your whole family for $24. Best deal in town.
Promotion: Dollar. Hot. Dog. Night.
If you don’t like hot dogs, you’re out of luck. But if you and your kids want to savor the sights, sounds, and of course, the tastes and smells, of the ballpark then hot dogs are critical. Fortunately, September 20 is the last $1 Hot Dog Night of the 2016 season. One of the most important aspects of this promotion is the need to get there early enough to get a voucher. You don’t need to plan on being there when the gates open, but don’t expect to stroll in after first pitch and still get one. The vouchers can be redeemed at most of the concession stands inside the park, but ask someone wearing a name tag if you can’t find one. Note: If you’re reading this in 2017 or beyond, first of all, we really hope they’re winning; second, $1 Hot Dog Night is a staple, and the team usually does the promotion once a month or so. Check the schedule.
The only wrinkle in this plan is whether you want to keep your kids out late on a school night! If you want to be a parental all-star, we think you know the answer. Plus, with all the money you just saved on a night out, you and your grown-up team mate can probably treat yourselves to a couple overpriced beers. Talk about a home run! Wait. Did we already do that one? Oh, right. Well, talk about a… grand slam!
Hot dogs: $4
Grand total: $43
Do you have any tips for enjoying a cheap night out at the baseball game? Maybe you just want to vent about the Rockies? Or do you want to lodge a complaint about painfully bad word play? Leave a comment!