Baseball On Holidays

Posted by Kurt Smith on Saturday, August 27, 2016
There are three major holidays during baseball season where pretty much all of America has the day off. Baseball never sleeps though, and almost every team plays on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. And the Blue Jays are usually home on Canada Day and often sell out the stadium (speaking of the Blue Jays, remember that our holidays aren’t holidays there...take advantage and plan a trip then and enjoy the game while the rest of Canada is at work!).

There a few dynamics at work at holiday baseball games, and it’s useful to be aware of a few things:

1) Teams generally don’t offer specials on holidays.

I don’t remember seeing too many ticket specials for the major holidays, although most teams feature fireworks nights on the Fourth and sometimes on Memorial Day. You won’t often find discounted tickets for holiday games, however, so if you’re looking for a deal you might have to look on SeatGeek or elsewhere.

If you want to see a popular opponent on a holiday, say, to see the Yankees in Baltimore or the Cubs in Milwaukee, it’s probably best to buy tickets through the team well in advance, especially if the team employs “dynamic pricing”. For a team that isn’t a big draw, though, you may find a better deal elsewhere.

2) Street parking is free.

Well, at least in most cities. In places like Pittsburgh or Boston where the ballpark is in the heart of the city, you can often park at a metered spot for free on holidays and Sundays, and in Pittsburgh especially there are quite a few meters not too far from the ballpark. You might have to get there a little early, but free parking at a ballgame is worth it, especially if you can get pretty close to the ballpark.

Usually on city can search for “(city) parking authority” and find the meter rules. They’ll let you know if you need to feed a meter on the Fourth of July or not.

3) Attendance is average.

I was surprised to find this out; I would have thought there were bigger attendance numbers for off days. But in the limited amount of research I did, some games had larger than average crowds and some had smaller ones. Nothing noticeably different.

There are exceptions, though. In cities where the fireworks nights are very popular, like Philadelphia and New York, you should expect a much more popular game and a higher markup on SeatGeek or StubHub.

4) Memorial and Labor Day weekends are good choices for the Saturday and Sunday games.

When the home team has a popular rival with much more expensive tickets not far away, like the Yankees in Baltimore or the Cubs in Milwaukee, fans will use the long weekends of Memorial Day or Labor Day to visit the ballpark. In this case, the holiday itself might be an easier ticket as the rival fans use the extra day to head home.

But in most other cases, especially in popular ballpark destinations like Wrigley or PNC, the Sunday before might actually be a better choice if the team is home throughout. On a long weekend, fans have a choice of three games instead of two, and ticket sales could be stretched out among three days. If you want to go to a weekend game, the long holiday weekend might be a better time to do it.

Again, though, it depends on the opponent. All of the holidays tend to have warmer weather, so a high value opponent will bring in bigger crowds anyway.

5) It’s not a great day to tour a city.

See a baseball game, sure...but a lot of museums and other city attractions may be closed on the major holidays, so it’s not a good idea to plan a day of the city around it. (I learned this on a beautiful July 4th in Cincinnati.) Best to find some other sort of activity, like an amusement park or something.

Remember that municipal employees will have the day off hopefully you won't need to stop at City Hall for anything.

Those are a few things to make your life easier and help you save some money taking in a baseball game on your well-earned day off. Stay tuned to this blog for more stuff!

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