I never thought I’d type this out loud, but the Baltimore Orioles front office did something brilliant.
Earlier today, they announced their Kids Cheer Free program, which allows children nine and under to attend Orioles games for free; up to two kids can be tacked on to any upper deck purchase. While I can’t in good conscience endorse making your child watch an Orioles game, the idea is brilliant, and every team, especially the Cleveland Indians, should be following suit.
I say this as a father of two kids under nine who has purposefully avoided taking them to a game because I didn’t want to waste money on a ticket when they’ll probably become disinterested after a few innings anyway. That’s not a knock on baseball or the Indians, but good luck keeping a six- and a four-year-old interested in anything for three hours, let alone a game they have to watch from a seat in the burning sun.
But if you give me the option to by tickets for my wife and I and take a gamble on my kids being interested for FREE? I’m in. One hundred percent, you bet I’m in. I’d also be more likely to buy them hot dogs or souvenirs with the couple bucks I save. Better yet, I’d be willing to give it a shot multiple times to get them interested in the game and building memories. And I have a five-hour drive to see games at Progressive Field. I can’t imagine how willing local parents would be to take their kids to spend an afternoon at the ballpark for the low, low price of absolutely nothing.
It’s worth noting that the Indians do have a pretty sweet deal for kids with the Kids Clubhouse and KeyBank Kids Tickets. It’s their way of dealing with the short attention span of Kids These Days® with basically an indoor baseball-themed playground for everyone to play in while Francisco Lindor dazzles on the field. It’s complete with an interactive locker room, a pitching simulator, and plenty of ways for kids to feel like they are a player themselves. They clearly value getting kids to the ballpark, but you still can’t beat getting standard tickets for free.
The frills are fun, but give me the chance to see a game with my kids without spending upwards of $40 and risk the chance that they’ll be crying to go home within a half hour and I’ll be there as much as I possibly can until they age out in five years. By then, who knows? You might have just helped foster two lifelong Tribe fans who I would have no problem purchasing tickets for as often as humanly possible.
Your move, Indians.