PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- This Major League Baseball season is going to be a disaster for some teams, and their fans already know it.
Has your team already spent a few months under .500? Has half the lineup spent more time rehabbing than playing? Are you just familiar enough with your franchise to know that even early season success could end in disaster?
For fans of teams mired in mediocrity or worse, this is when you start asking yourself why you'd consider spending more money at the ballpark this year. Baseball's midpoint All-Star break isn't here yet and the weather is lovely in some spots, but there's no point in shelling out to watch baseball played at its "highest level" when your team leaves that point consistently in doubt. Watching near-minor-league baseball on a sunny day is relaxing, but costly.
Consider that the average price of a ticket jumped 2.8% from last season, according to Team Marketing Report. Meanwhile, the average cost of bringing a family of four to the game and paying for parking, concessions and souvenirs rose 2.3%, to $212.46.
That's still a fraction of what fans pay to see a National Football League, National Hockey League or National Basketball League game. In fact, that price for a full day at the ballgame for a family of four wouldn't even get them in the door at an NHL game (where tickets average $61.82 a pop) or an NFL matchup ($81.94). Baseball's still a steal and, on average, a beautiful day at the ballpark watching a terrible team still isn't bad.
We took a look around the league and found five stadiums whose aesthetics and amenities give fans more reason to come out to the ballpark than the team whose logo is plastered all over the joint:
On the 100th Anniversary of Wrigley Field, the Cubs dropped ticket prices by nearly 1%. Thanks for nothing.
There's a new pantsless mascot and a new Budweiser sponsorship that's kicking Old Style beer out of the ballpark, but fans are still getting the same old Cubs. They haven't had a winning season since 2009, haven't made the playoffs since 2008 and seem content to run the franchise as the Wrigley Field museum complete with rewards programs, mobile ticketing and roads to the ballpark lined with bars, bros and stale beer.
Nobody you know was alive the last time this team won a World Series. Children born the last time this team made it to the World Series turn 69 this year. Since the Houston Astros joined the American League two years ago, the Cubs have remained mired at the bottom of the NL Central. Their 96 losses last year were still good enough to finish three games ahead of the White Sox for "best" team in Chicago, but the South Siders still have that 2005 World Series trophy at U.S. Cellular Field.
The Cubs have a living museum with ivy on the walls and a dedicated bunch of actors pretending to be a Major League Baseball team. With the bands across the street at Metro standing a better chance of making the World Series as in-game entertainment than the Cubs do as a baseball franchise, Cubs management seems content to wring every dollar out of its historic facility by blocking out the rooftop seats across the street and raising the overall cost for a family of four to attend the game by 2.2%.
It's a diamond of a facility with a lump of coal as its tenant.