Arrive at the Game Earlier (or Later)

Baseball fans can avoid waiting in line by taking advantage of the fact that stadium gates usually will open about ninety minutes before the start of the game.  A real motivator to arrive early is when the team is giving away a novelty or commemorative item because supplies may be limited to the first 10,000 or 15,000 fans.  Another reason for early arrival, especially for evening games, is to watch batting practice. A third reason, and my favorite, is to walk down memory lane.  That’s because many of the newer baseball stadiums have display areas that serve as museums of team history.  Fans can also avoid waiting in line by arriving late.  You won’t find lines to get in the gate but you may have a long walk to that gate from your parking spot, especially as stadiums return closer to full capacity as the pandemic is defeated.

Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Attend Early in the Season (or in September)

Baseball fans can also avoid waiting in line by choosing less popular game dates.  This tip seems like a variation on the first rule, except rather than utilizing the clock, you will study the calendar!  Hot weather, summer vacations, and close division races bring out greater numbers of fans.  If you can bundle up against the early-season or late-season chill, attend on a school night, or after a team falls out of contention, you can have a fine ballpark experience without the crowds.  Fans should always expect that teams with newer stadiums will have scarce tickets as fans are eager to come see the new confines.  Be aware of promotions like post-game fireworks, ceremonies honoring past stars or fan appreciation nights which always draw big crowds.

Leverage Your Smartphone

Baseball fans can avoid waiting in line by putting their phones to good use.  Teams have made everything from tickets to concessions and merchandise available for purchase via the MLB Ballpark app, and this season that will be the only way to buy some ballpark items.  Even if you are not required to buy online, you’ll almost certainly need to pay electronically.  Most stadiums have become cashless environments due to COVID, so be ready to use a credit card or phone-based apps for transferring money. (Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash)

In my Back to Baseball 2021 course I will provide a guide to ordering food from the MLB Ballpark app.

Carry a Personal Supply of Snacks

Those fans who avoid waiting in line to this point may also not want to wait to eat.  Most venues will allow you to bring sealed bottled water and a small disposable snack bag into the game, but best to check your team’s rules beforehand.  Snacks (if permitted) in a transparent bag will allow for touchless security screening to make your access to the stadium quicker.  You can often find detailed rules about what you can bring on the team website under the ballpark security, or health and safety sections.  If carrying snacks into the game is impractical, and you don’t like the limited concession offerings during COVID, one good strategy for a pre-game or post-game feast is to bring a cooler full of favorite snacks that never leaves your car.   Then drinking plenty of water during the game should carry you through a three or even four-hour time frame.

Carry Hand Sanitizer in Your Pocket

Finally, baseball fans who avoid waiting in line to enter the stadium and to buy food may want one final tool on hand – something that you’re likely already using often.  Hand cleansing stations will be set up around every stadium, and I don’t anticipate long lines for this free hand sanitizer, but it could take a little time to get there from your seat.  There may be times when you will want clean hands without waiting for an inning to end or missing any of the action.