There are few things as quintessentially-summer to me, as a night out at the ole ballpark. Peanuts and cracker jacks. Ballpark dogs and jumbo pretzels. Deep. Fried. Mac & Cheese.
All summer long you can find some of the above listed snacks at Re-Max Field (formerly Telus Field) and if you plan accordingly, you can even have them in conjunction with a baseball game! Re-Max Field (needs a nickname, I suggest The Open House, but I’m not married to the idea) plays home to the Edmonton Prospects of the Western Major Baseball League. If you’re not familiar, the WMBL is a summer collegiate baseball league that would compare to single “A” ball down in the States. The league stretches out across Western Canada and the home town Prospects average a very respectable 1,000 fans a game. I paid a visit to The Open House (be honest, you like it, tell your friends) this week against the rival Okotoks Dawgs to watch some live sports, eat some junk food and work on my pun game. Would the game be a home run of an idea or would I struggle to score?
The key to attending one of the Prospects games might be the planning you do in advance. First off, come with a suitcase full of money. The cost of the game is actually very cheap, but you need cash for almost everything and a suitcase seems like the easiest way to carry it around town. The field is very easy to get to from the downtown core, but feel free to park right in front of the stadium, as it’s only 5 bucks. The affordability of the tickets themselves is unparalleled in this city. Instead of taking out a mortgage to get a single ticket to an Oilers game, you can sit in the grandstands for the Prospects for only $18 a person. Splurge for an extra toonie and you can sit in the first three rows behind the plate. I’d also recommend taking a look online at their promotional schedule. Select Thursdays have drink specials and they also have a number of Toonie Tuesdays, where you can get a second ticket to the game for only two dollars.
The next set of planning you need to prepare for is stomach related. The food and drink at the park is probably what you’d expect, with a few exceptions. The beer is reasonably priced compared to the big arenas and you can get a tall boy of Mill St. Organic instead of Bud Light, which a lot of beer aficionados are bound to appreciate. The historic ballpark hot dogs weren’t quite as good I remember from my youth, but they have something called a YEG Dog on the menu (sauerkraut & bacon), so this site will give them a very unbiased pass on that one. Unfortunately the one fun and surprising thing on the menu, was one of the few things that we didn’t get a chance to try. The concessions offered Deep Fried Mac & Cheese, but it was sold out by the middle of the fifth inning. Just another example of the necessary planning that I’ll need to do before taking in another game.
The other food related surprises for this baseball fan, were the things that were missing from your stereotypical day out at the park. First off, there was no beer guy/girl. No one yelling “BEEE-EEEEER, CO-OLD BEE-EEEEER”. I know I can get up and walk 18 feet to the concourse, but I’m lazy and require beverage delivery. Secondly, there are very clear signs as you enter the seating areas that “peanuts and spitz are not allowed”. I was agast. No peanuts at a place where 2 hours later bleachers full of people would sing “buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks” in unison. Seemed very odd to remove an essential ritual from a game so tied to it’s many traditions. I was too upset to go on with the date. Evening ruined. Nothing could salvage this experience now.
As a date, I can’t recommend the Edmonton Prospects games enough. There are so many great, well-intentioned activities that wind up being poor dates, because you’re forced to be silent the whole time. The baseball game is a prime 2.5 hours of conversation opportunity. It can be unsuspectingly intimate, considering you brought a thousand people with you on the date, but just pretend that their cheering for you, not with you.
In case you’re wondering, after a bit of a rally in the ninth, we ended up losing the game by 2. But everyone had a good time, so no one went home too disappointed (except maybe the team playing the game). Overall, it was a fun and affordable night out, that provided ample chances to make “base”, “scoring”, “catch” and “hit” jokes.
What more can you ask for?