I first discovered the Cactus League in the early 70's when I was just a kid. I have always been a terminal Chicago Cubs fan, and I would always spend a week or two in Mesa, Arizona watching the Cubs practice and play. Those days were great. You could watch a game and get something to eat at Hohokam Park for a ten dollar bill. Great. The Hohokams, a local civic group would cook burgers and hot dogs, and the atmosphere was magic.
The Cactus League has grown in recent years, and ballparks have sprung up throughout the Phoenix area. With the growth in popularity, and the fact the stadiums cost money, the cost of a ticket to a spring training game has skyrocketed. Earlier this month, I thought it would be great to watch the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants take on their rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers. I have a friend in Arizona who also wanted to go, and he said he would buy the tickets. He knew a guy who could get us great seats. My friend, my wife, my father in law, and I made a party of four.
My buddy called me back and said the tickets were $127 dollars. I thought, wow, but figured I would pay it for the four of us. No, my friend said, its $127 dollars a ticket. What, for a spring training game, no way. So I purchased tickets to a Cubs road game in Peoria, Az. for $14. My buddy said he would get tickets for an Angels Diamondbacks game in Tempe. Ok I said, "go for it".
When we met my friend to go to the game, I asked how much I owed him for the tickets. "Rounding down", he said, "fifty bucks apiece". That's $150 for my wife, my father in law, and me. We would see two teams I didn't really care about, the D-Backs and the Angels. We arrived early and the seats were great. Right next to the Diamondbacks dugout. A half hour before the game, giant clouds descended on the stadium. You guessed it, the game was rained out, first time for me in 40 years. I found no solace in the fact I paid $150 for nothing. Rain checks wouldn't help, we were returning to Boise the next day.
My friends ticket broker laughed all the way to the bank while we sloshed our way to the car. My wife said, check the price on the tickets. It was $20. Last time I let my embarassed buddy buy the tickets. There are suckers everywhere, and sadly I am one. From now on, I am buying my own tickets.