Big League Stew - MLB

Flush with cash these days? Have a little extra cheese to spend? Always wanted to call yourself a Yankees seaon ticket holder? Well, you're in luck!

Over on Yankees.com, they're advertising that there's still time to be a part of the inaugural season ticket holder class at new Yankee Stadium. Yes, for only $26,325 (plus additional shipping and packaging and online fees) you can own tickets for a field level seat to all 81 home games in 2009.

Busting out the ol' abacus, that works out to be exactly $325 each game, or roughly the amount CC Sabathia will receive for each dugout step he climbs to the field. Of course, if you want to bring anybody, the price doubles, so you'd be on the hook for $650 each game —  a luxury car payment, really — before you even think about buying an overpriced beer, a replica Mark Teixeira jersey or town car service to avoid rubbing shoulders with the plebes while riding the subway.

Dumbfounded? Blown away?  Just remembering your kid who wants to go to college? Rethinking that expenditure? But still interested in the honor and prestige of being called a season ticket holder, nonetheless? Well, you're still in luck!

Turns out that there are 29 other teams in the league that also play baseball and some even offer full season ticket plans that cost much less than your two tickets to just one game at new Yankee Stadium. The Yankees even come to town to play some of these teams, so it's conceivable you could fly to a city, stay at a nice hotel and maybe even have a few nice meals for much less than the cost of just one homestand in the Bronx.

Here on the Stew, we've taken the liberty of collecting information on baseball's cheapest season ticket plans and posting it below. Almost all of them cost less than two field level seats to new Yankee Stadium and some of them are even cheaper than just one seat.

Sure, it's not quite the filet mignon they're serving up in the Bronx, but you'd be surprised at some of the quality teams that are offering bargains. Plus, the bases are still 90 feet apart, the pitchers' mound is still 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate and the surrounding 'hood might even smell a little better than the one around Yankee Stadium.

So who has the cheapest season ticket plans in all of baseball?

Cheapest season ticket in baseball: Blue Jays* — $95 season pass

OK, so this one's a bit misleading. The Jays' season pass isn't a season ticket, per se. Rather, it's a card that will get you into all 81 home games if the holder shows up to the ticket window at least 45 minutes before game time, he or she gets to sit in a 500-level seat that day. Not exactly an ideal plan for those who might get tied up at work, but fantastic for those who like to show up early and for people who enjoy attending random games while cashing in on a serious bargain. Plus you never have to worry about getting rid of your extras.

OK, now the cheapest guaranteed full season ticket plans. (Prices are per seat.)

1. Braves — $249 upper pavilion: Not only do the Braves have the cheapest "true" season-ticket plan, they also feature another section in Turner Field priced at $415 for a season seat, while three other sections are offered at a "Buy Two, Get Two Free" rate that is becoming very popular with many teams.  

2. Twins — $250 'season cheap seats': The opportunity to see the M&M Lumber Co. at just $3.08 a game has to rank as one of sport's best bargains, especially since it'll qualify you for postseason tickets you might actually get to use. However, you'll have to spend 81 soul-sucking days inside the Metrodome when you could be outside in during the 17 beautiful days of Minnesota summer. Also, your purchase won't qualify you for priority seating when Target Field opens next season.

3. Dodgers — $336 top deck: An absolutely unreal price for a major-market team, but the price is somewhat offset by the top deck's blimp-type view, the Chavez Ravine rowdies you'll have to endure and the chance that your thirst for a good deal is preventing the McCourts from getting the Manny Ramirez deal done. Still, blue-clad beggars can't be choosers and Vin Scully comes in just as clear on your transistor up in the Dodger Stadium cheap seats.

4. Pirates —  $399 Left, right and outfield grandstand:  Sure, you'll have to stomach an entire season of watching the Pirates play, but you'll also be able to enjoy warm summer nights at PNC Park (right), one of the best ballparks in the majors. Being stuck in the upper deck isn't a problem, either. The park's highest seat is only 88 feet above the field (an MLB best) and you'll get a great view of downtown Pittsburgh and on promotional firework nights.  

5. Diamondbacks — $415 outfield reserve:The D'backs play in one of America's most struggling economies and a lot has been written about how they plan to stay afloat in such a market. But for around $5 a game, you can sit in the corners of Chase Field's upper deck and enjoy other cost-cutting measures the team is instituting — from $8 hats and t-shirts to $1.50 hot dogs for kids. 

6. Royals — $567 view level: When I lived in Kansas City, the cheap Hy-vee View Level seats were always the solution for a nightly boredom problem. Not that I ever sat in the seats, of course. Lax ushers at Kauffman Stadium and an average attendance of below 20,000 means you can usually sit wherever you want. (Honestly, the only times you'll need to climb to the upper deck seats is if the Yankees, Red Sox or Cardinals are in town.)

7. A's — $584 plaza reserved: Oakland Coliseum may not be the best place to watch a game, but it's great in the fact that you can sit by dedicated diehards if you wish or choose an entire section to yourself if you're into a more laidback atmosphere. All for under $8 a game. 

8. Reds — $591 bleachers: You won't be able to see the scoreboard or HD screen all season long without turning and craning your neck skyward. But at least you're in the lower level and, again, who says you have to sit there?

9. Marlins — $607 "Fish Tank"Seems like this package should be a lot cheaper, given that the Marlins averaged an MLB-worst 16,688 fans in 2008. Then again, the Yankees are coming to town for a 2003 World Series rematch this year and we've seen what the presence of pinstripes can do to the overall price of a season plan.

10. Rockies — $648 left and right field reserved: Seats in Coors Field famed "Rock Pile" are only $4, but they're not available for purchase in a season ticket package. That means you'll have to settle for enjoying your Blue Moon and an order of Rocky Mountain oysters while sitting (at least a little) closer to the field. 

11. Giants — $672 "Gamer": Would you eventually tire of 40-degree games in June and overdose on your mainline of garlic fries? Yes. Would you ever get tired of being guaranteed tickets every time Tim Lincecum takes the mound at AT&T Park? Not a chance. (Plus you might get a shot at a Crazy Crab bobblehead, which you could easily sell on eBay to make up the $22 overage between this plan and two Yankees tickets.)

12. Rays — $748 upper deck: OK, so there's almost a $100 difference between an entire season of Rays baseball and one parking-, food- and beer-free game at Yankee Stadium. But an American League pennant is worth the extra cost ... wouldn't you say?

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