At Dodd, it's about dollars ... and sense


And to think some of us have issues finding common ground. So let's start here:

Raise your hand if you don't have any money.

See? It only took two paragraphs and we're practically all brothers and sisters already.

We all need to spend wisely. Which is what makes going to the ballpark now an exercise in hypertension. I mean, I get that we need to pay CC Sabathia's salary. But $6 for water?

Good news today, however. The Connecticut Tigers are back for another summer. This just in: It's a night at the ballpark, only without the gouging. Maybe if we forgo the major league experience for our living rooms with HD and get our ballpark fix at Dodd Stadium, we'll all have a little more to spend, you know, at Christmas.

It was Opening Night on Wednesday. A nice crowd shuffled in. Come along

Immediately, you see the Dodd Experience saves money. It's $3 to park. It's $35 in the Ruppert Garage at Yankee Stadium. That's a savings of $32. Do you know what you can buy with $32? At least three coffees at Starbucks.

Next, we went to the ticket window. Tickets start at $8. We ran into Norwich mayor Deb Hinchey at will call. She's trying to explain to the kid at the window - he has no idea who she is - that she's here to throw out the first pitch and needs entry to the ballpark. This took a while. And she couldn't have been more pleasant and patient.

We like Mayor Hinchey.

But could you imagine if that ever happened to, oh, Mike Francesa?

This is another benefit of the ballpark experience here. Blowhards are at a minimum.

Next, right field. The Hole In The Wall Bar. You can spin around on your stool and watch the game sipping a Narragansett. You could even channel your inner Curt Gowdy and tell the guy next to you, "Hi neighbor! Have a 'Gansett!"

Then we new see Tigers Director of Sales, Brent Southworth, the former Norwich American Legion coach, who once led the team to the Northeast Regionals. Good guy, Brent. He takes us upstairs to the ballpark's best kept secret: The Yard Bar & Grill. For $20, you watch the game from a skybox converted into a lounge with reasonable prices ($8 nachos and sandwiches, $3.50 soda, $6 for 20-ounce drafts and $5 glasses of wine).

Brent reminds us that skybox rentals are $450 per game, which, if you corral 20 people, comes to $23.50 apiece. Individual game suites at Yankee Stadium start at $3,780. No, really. If you really have some change to throw, you could reserve the suite that goes for $23,950. For one game. You know what I would pay $23,950 for one day? Nothing. That's what.

Back to the concourse. Hot dogs are $3. The Retro Beer Bar has Ballantine (cue Mel Allen), Schlitz (cue James Coburn), PBR and Schaefer (the one beer to have when you're having more than one). Nothing costs more than $4.50. It's like having the Dutch Tavern outside.

Down the left field line, the barbecue area appeals to groups. All you can eat for 90 minutes, a 15-person minimum, for $23 apiece. There's also a kids zone with a slide and two bouncy houses.

Nightly specials:

Mondays: Kids eat free, sponsored in part by The Day. (Yes. I know. We are awesome). Because you know what you get for free anymore? Nothing. That's what.

Tuesday: Dollar hot dogs.

Wednesday: Grand Slam Family Four Pack. Four reserved tickets, four hot dogs, four sodas, and a box of popcorn for $40. Kids run the bases postgame.

Thursday aren't just Thursdays. They are Thirsty Thursdays. Gates open at 5 for happy hour with live music, and $2 drafts.

Friday: Fireworks.

Saturday: Various giveaways.

Sunday: Bring your glove and have a catch, a coupon for free ice cream at Ben and Jerry's and kids run the bases after the game.

Sorry. I know I sound like I'm on the payroll. But anyplace that keeps tossing in the word "free" deserves an ovation.

Once again, free country. You want to go to Fenway or the Bronx and pay the gross national product of Argentina for a Heineken? Have a day. But there are four bases and a fence and hot dogs and beer right up the road.

Happy summer.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.


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