Thanks to last year's agreement between owners and players, Major League Baseball's 1991 season started as scheduled, and there may be no strikes or lockouts for years.
But the price of labor peace is staggering - $700,000 salaries to bench warmers, millions for stars - which is why a trip to the ballpark is no longer one of life's cheap thrills, reports Changing Times, the Kiplinger magazine.Even the Houston Astros, who traded their best player, slugger Glenn Davis, rather than pay him $3 million, are hiking some tickets 30 percent (although an Astros spokesman notes that kids' general admission seats still cost $1). At any park, box seats below $9 are scarce.
Food and parking can really put you on the financially disabled list. At Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, a 20-ounce beer, slice of pizza and large bag of peanuts cost almost $10.
But give the Seattle Mariners a hand: Their concession prices are about the lowest in the big leagues, and the Mariners are keeping ticket prices at last year's level, including $2.50 and $3.50 kids' admissions.
In recognition of the pile of cash it takes to see a game these days, the Cincinnati Reds have installed automated teller machines at Riverfront Stadium - one inside the park and another outside.