Join me for a tour of Dodd

Norwich

There comes a time when consumers of the world must unite. And have their Peter Finch moment. You know. Where you go to the window, as he did in "Network," and yell you're mad as hell and you're not going to take it anymore.

(Some of us could do this seven times before noon every day).

But for today's purposes, let's take baseball. Forget about steroids. How about $20 for a hot dog and a beer? And so many of us dumb enough to pay it. Except that more of us are summoning our inner Peter Finch. Fenway's sellout streak ended this spring. Yankee Stadium is awash in empty seats. They're pricing us out.

All of which made for this crazy thought Monday night: We have baseball here, too. No, really. A view from the concourse at Dodd Stadium: baseball diamond. Four bases. Green grass. Fence. Sounds of the ballpark, too. Just like on TV.

Only it didn't cost $35 to park (as it does in the nearest garage to Yankee Stadium). It's real baseball, too. And frankly, too good of an option now to avoid, given that many of us can't just toss away a few hundred clams for one night at the ballpark.

The Connecticut Tigers opened at home Monday night, beginning Dodd Stadium's 18th summer. Would you like a tour? Come along for your own night at the ballpark from the comforts of wherever you might be reading this. Even those of you who take the paper along to the latrine.

We pull in and see it's $3 to park. As previously stated: You can park 11.66 cars here for the price of one at Yankee Stadium. There are people tailgating in the parking lot, bagpipes bagpiping in the background. Lots of happy faces.

Tickets are between $5 and $10. Think about that for a minute.

We head to right field on the concourse. Sign: Every Monday, kids under 12 eat free. Brought to you by The Day, by the way, reaffirming our general awesomeness. You know what you can do for free anymore? Nothing. That's what.

We begin at the Burger Barn. Feature item: The Andrew Graham Burger, named after the Tigers' manager. A half-pound of steak with melted habernero jack cheese and pineapple served upside down with crinkle cut chips for eight bucks. As Hawkeye Pierce used to say: Your tastebuds could get arrested for indecent exposure.

Then we encounter the Hole In The Wall Bar, $5.50 for a 16-ounce draft of some high end cold ones. They're north of $10 in Boston and New York. The more traditional concession stands offer $3 hot dogs, $3.25 sodas, $3.50 pretzels and 20-ounce drafts for $5.50.

We keep walking and run into old friend Darrin McCalla, assistant men's basketball coach at Mitchell College. Good man. Spends summers as an usher.

"I get paid to watch baseball and talk," he said.

(So does John Sterling, come to think of it).

We chat with Darrin for a while. Then we head back and after passing a Ben & Jerry's stand, see a sign for "Thursday Night Tunes." Seven different bands will play here this summer on "Thirsty Thursdays," with music and drink specials. That's after dollar hot dogs every Tuesday and Wednesdays with four reserved seats, four hot dogs, four sodas and a bag of popcorn all for $40.

On the third base side, we hear a calling. It's the "PBR Retro Beer Bar," where they offer Pabst Blue Ribbon, Ballantine and Schaefer. This is so cool. If you grew up on baseball, you remember Mel Allen and the "Ballantine Blast." You remember the Rheingold jingle. (My beer is Rheingold, the dry beer … think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer …") You remember the "Schaefer player of the game," too.

We peel ourselves away to see there's even a new Philly Cheesesteak concession, too, that looks particularly delicious.

Then it rained. The soothing voice of longtime public address announcer Ed Weyant warned fans to move to the concourse. And as it always has throughout time, the rain stopped. The crowd let out a good cheer when they removed the tarp, only one of the great scenes in sports. It means baseball happens soon.

While it rained, we sang to a few ballpark tunes.

"That's really not one of your talents," official scorer Chris Cote said.

Say this for Chris: When he's right, he's right.

But it was hard not to sing. It's the ballpark. It's summer. And it's wonderfully affordable. Look at it this way: There was a baseball game here Monday and the Tigers' starting shortstop was named Javier Azcona. Is he really any worse than this guy Brignac of the Yankees? You can watch Azcona play for a $5 ticket while your kid eats free on a Monday. You can watch Brignac while you park for $35, pay at least that much for a ticket, $20 for a hot dog and a beer and drive two hours home.

I'll take Azcona.

The Tigers are here all summer, folks.

It's real baseball. Without the extortion.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.

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