Classic summer fun good bargain for fans

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003

Who says there's nothing fun to do on a summer Saturday evening in Kenai?

OK. Normally, I do.

When looking for inexpensive entertainment, I'm pretty picky. Because it's a Kenai summer, there's no way can you spend the time inside while the the sun and warm weather is in the great Alaska outdoors.

The Peninsula Oilers offer up classic summer entertainment through June and July, and the price is right for anybody with a $10 bill, some change in their pockets and an earnest desire to have a good time. If you luck out and catch a night when a sponsor picks up the tab at the gate, that leaves even more green in your wallet.

Although there are no more home games this season (Bum-mer!), this still is valuable information to log in your mental Rolodex for next summer. So, let's explore.

Of course there are other pastimes, like going to a bar, which is ridiculous when it's sunny out. Renting a movie or going to see one of those dumber ... I mean summer blockbusters is an option, too, but with some of the line-ups, I think I'd rather be thrown face-first through a plate glass window.

What about fishing? Anything that can be preceded by the word "combat" probably isn't a good thing. Besides, I want to relax, and salmon-gathering this time of year is more of a chore.

I digress.

Saturday evening, I was able to find fun and enjoyment in the company of fellow Kenai Peninsula residents for close to three hours outside in the waning evening sunlight. I was able to do that, have a light meal and even play a game of chance on a slim budget.

One adult admission was $3 for a seat on one of the open bleachers, although any accompanying seniors or school-aged children (older than 5) could get in for only $2. A covered grand-stand seat, with backs on the chairs and such, would run $6.

A program to let you know which player to cheer for or yell at is $2.

You've got to have food when you watch baseball, or else what are you going to spill on the fan in front of you when your team makes a double-play in the seventh-inning? I went for a cheeseburger, a canned soda and a bag of candy.

Altogether, my "meal" total came to $4.75, but it could've gone either way. The soda and the candy were a dollar each, but the burger was $2.75. This wasn't your average, run-of-the-mill, drive-through fare, either. It was real meat with cheese dripping over the top, with crisp lettuce and flavorful tomatoes on a soft bun. Mmmmmm.

Soft pretzels, nachos, six-inch mini pizzas, and that All-American favorite, the hot dog, were available as well for as little as $2.50 to as much as $5. You can even get some stronger bubbles to accompany your food from a roving pilsner vendor for $3.

"Hey, beer man!"

Maybe not.

As I took my seat, a voice on the loud speaker invited me to buy a raffle ticket for only a dollar. What did I have to lose? One measly buck. I stood the chance of winning back a lot more from a split-the-pot ticket. Why not?

All totaled, I spent $10.75, which equates to less than $45 for a family of four with kids to eat, drink and root, root, root for the home team. That's considerably less than the $52 one person would average for general admission, parking, concessions and a program at a Seattle Mariners game.

We haven't even factored in the associated travel expenses just to get to Safeco Field. Try $491 if you -- on a whim -- decide you want to see the Mariners play the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

The Oilers represent a bargain in the state, as well. A poll of general admissions to Alaska Baseball League stadiums found Oilers tickets at the bottom of the price range. The food also is cheaper -- just compare the $4.50 cheeseburgers and $2.50 hot dogs sold at Mulcahy Stadium, home to the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and the Anchorage Bucs, to what Oilers' fans pay for eats.

All of this information is too little and too late for those looking for something to do this Saturday, because the Oilers have finished their home games for the year. However, they'll be back next summer, and now you are armed with knowledge.

See you at the ball park in June 2004.

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