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Cheap way to enjoy spring break, MLB

first_imgSome students this spring break won’t be lucky enough to travel to such sinful cities as Cancun or Panama City Beach. Their MTV spring break will have to wait.But sports fans can have their cake and eat it, too. With a little planning, a little bravado and a taste for gas station food, they can have a spring break to remember for less than $500.This year’s belligerently belated spring break schedule coincides with Major League Baseball’s opening week. The following is a guide to the perfect baseball spring break.First, take a few days to recoup. The semester has been long and arduous, and the season doesn’t start until Monday. On Tuesday, April 3, pack up the Honda Civic or Toyota Camry — whatever your roommate drives — with clothes, sleeping bags and the necessary sports magazines. There will be a lot of time to read on this trip.The first stop on this epic journey will be beautiful Busch Stadium in St. Louis to see the defending World Series champions take on the New York Mets. Leave Madison early in the morning in order to enjoy some of St. Louis’ sights. It’s a five-hour drive, and the game doesn’t start until 7 p.m.After checking out the arch and some of the other sights and sounds, it will be time to head over to Busch. Don’t go too early, though, because the game is sold out. But don’t fret. Outside the stadium will be a man most likely named Buzz. You’ll know him by the sun spot on his bald head and the patch over his right eye. Wait until just after the game starts to approach him. He’s crafty, but he loves to haggle, and you will be able to get some decent seats for a maximum of $50 per person. These will be the priciest tickets of the trip.Miles traveled: 360.79Baseball games: 1Money spent: $116After the Cardinals make mincemeat of the Mets, it’s time to head to Minnesota. No time for sleep on this trip. There will be time for that when you’re dead. At this point, you should be thinking about Dollar Dog Night at the Metrodome, where hot dogs are just a dollar on Wednesdays. This should be the motivation you need to drive through the night on nothing but Combos and Dr Pepper.When you get to the Minneapolis area, call my mom. Her name is Phyllis, and she makes the best french toast ever. She’ll make you some after your nap.Once you’ve recharged, head downtown to the dome, where Dollar Dog Night awaits. Cheap seats at the Metrodome will cost a mere $5 with a student ID — some of the best prices in the Bigs. Make sure to leave the stadium through the open doors and not the revolving doors, as the deflating dome creates a gust of wind that literally pushes you out.After the game, you can find a cheap hotel for less than $60, or you can call Phyllis again. She’s a swell lady, and she’ll be happy to take you in.For some cheap fun the next day, drive around the Minneapolis area looking for the places where scenes from “Little Big League” were filmed. Hint: The fishing bridge is located at Minnehaha Falls. When the scavenger hunt is over, it’s time to head back to Madison for a little break.Miles traveled: 1,190.27Fun had: tons o’Money spent: $181Your next game will be Milwaukee on Friday, where the Brew Crew will tangle with the Cubs. Consider this your spring training for trash talking, where you can practice on the hundreds of Cubs fans who traveled north for the game. Mark Prior and Kerry Wood starting the season on the down low, the Cubs paying more than $100 million for no more than 80 wins, or the fact that Chicagoans don’t seem to work are all good heckling points.Miles traveled: 1,269.35Sour gummy worms consumed: 1,353Money spent: $223If you have a Chicago or Milwaukee friend with you on this trip, drive to his or her house and sleep there. If you go to Chicago, let the Chicago friend drive. This will shave at least half an hour off the trip time, but it will also shave a year or two off your life. Totally worth it.The last game in this whirlwind of emotion and magnet schedule giveaways will take place at U.S. Cellular Field, aka Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox. Here you’ll get another chance to see the Twins, or “piranhas,” as Ozzie Guillen calls them, in action. This should be the trip’s climax, as these two teams will be competing with Detroit for the AL Central championship this season, and it will be a heated early-season battle. Cheap seats can be had for as little as $8, though the grub will be a little more expensive.Miles traveled: 1,360.5Times your nervous friend tapped the imaginary break: 191Money spent: $300Since this match is a day game, you will be able to drive home in time to enjoy your Saturday night out in Madison. You will have traveled 1,508 miles, spending only approximately $304 along the way, though that is the cheap estimate and assumes four people in the car.You will have seen the defending national champions, experienced baseball in a dome, and talked trash to Chicagoans from both ends of the city. Only a fool would miss out on that.And look on the bright side: At least you won’t have tan lines.Robert Panger is a senior majoring in journalism, and you can read his “Benchwarmer Bob” guest column periodically throughout the semester. He can be reached at [email protected]last_img read more

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