It’s a rip-off, but we’re the ones to blame

I wish to ask all of you one simple question. Are you ready?

If, as they say, wages and income are as low as they have been for years, why do prices in most every category continue rise? Is there such a thing as the “real” cost of living? Is it all inflation?

(OK! So that was four questions!)

My most recent rant is I’m constantly being ripped off.

Last week, my wife and I were in Boston, which is a great city, and I agree that living standards are quite high there compared to our beloved Mahoning Valley. We went to the old, fabled ball yard at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox were playing our own Cleveland Indians.

Concession prices at all ball parks and all professional stadiums are, as we all know, just terrible! When you must pay $8 for a hot dog and close to $10 for a beer, it is no more than a rip-off!

This all comes on top of the entrance ticket, which is also sky-high. Is this all supply and demand?

I wonder if there is ever any consideration for a family of four who would like to treat their family to a ball game and maybe a hot dog and a soda.

Price gouging seems to be an art any more as owners, vendors and even the players seem to make out heavily and probably look at the fans as such fools. They must figure, “We got you in here, and if you are hungry and thirsty. we got what you want. For a price, of course!”

I should not complain. Stadiums are usually filled to capacity and the fans do consume from the vendors whatever they are hungry and thirsty for … at any price. Does that make it right?

In olden days of yore, fans did bring in their own sandwiches and even drinks to the ball yards. That stopped when, as they say, fans got a bit tipsy on their own drinks and seemed to bother the fans who were really into the ball game. That gave the owners and the concessionaires a great excuse to ban all food and drink from home, and the gouging began.

Of course, there are a great many expenses any more for ball park officials and club owners and even concessionaires, too, as they must hire and pay people. Player salaries have gone bananas. Even a bench player can make several million just for, as we used to say, “riding the oak.”

The fields are in tip top shape, chalk lines are perfect, seats are somewhat comfortable. Uniforms can be expensive, although they seem to have several different color combinations that are probably not necessary for the Fourth of July and many other charity events and holidays. This could easily elevate the cost of a lowly hot dog.

Travel expenses can be high for 25 players, manager, coaches, announcers, trainers and PR reps, and, of course, hotel rooms and food vouchers and you name it all add to the total cost.

Spring training is also a big expense for club officials for two whole months of fun in the sun and their important training which is a priority.

Where does it all end?

When it comes down to it, there is a big expense that translates directly to we, the fans, who still enjoy the game, who still, believe it or not, feel it is a kid’s game, and who still immortalize star players as gods — for which we can only blame ourselves.

It still is so nice to enjoy a game in the twilight amid the tastes and smells of concessions and friends and family and of course our favorite team, especially if they are winning!

I forgot to mention the Red Sox beat our Cleveland Indians on a walk-off home run in the ninth inning. Great game!