Take ’em out to the ball game | TheUnion.com

Take ’em out to the ball game

WEST SACRAMENTO – So you want to take your kids out to the ballgame, but your budget won’t allow you to spend Major League bucks to do so?

A day at Raley Field might be right up your power alley.

The Sacramento River Cats, the Triple-A minor league affiliate of the Oakland A’s offers families an opportunity to see not only future Athletics but also the best team in Pacific Coast League baseball the past two seasons.

And, best of all, you’re sure to get more bang for your buck.

Rather than driving two to three hours for a Bay Area baseball game, western Nevada County fans can catch the Cats within a hour’s drive – quite a savings just in gasoline this summer.

Ticket prices are also more economical than the big league parks. Taking in a San Francisco Giants game at SBC Park – such as next Wednesday’s matchup with the Arizona Diamondbacks – can cost as little as $12 for a center field bleacher seat (if any are available) to $60 for club level.

At Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum, tickets range from $10 in the upper deck to $36 in the Plaza Club, which includes a meal.

But down at Raley Field, even the best seats available are more affordable. Fans need only to drop $18 for a seat in the Senate Box, directly behind home plate. Or, if you’d rather stretch out or have a picnic on the lawn, $6 general admission tickets for Home Run Hill are available.

The only downside of having that family picnic on the lawn is that Raley Field does not allow fans to bring food inside the park, meaning you’ll pay dearly at the concession stand. Another option, though is the all-you-can-eat Bullpen Barbecue buffet. Adult BBQ tickets, not including drinks, are $14.75 per person, while kids 10-an-under eat all they like for $9.50.

Aside from the steep prices at the concession stand, Raley Field does take a family friendly approach. Each Sunday’s home game is U.S. Bank Kids Days, during which the River Cats offer face-painting, balloon artists, player autographs and a chance for kids to run the bases after the game’s conclusion.

And, for children who might not be big baseball fans, the right field corner of the stadium is set aside as the Coca-Cola Kids Corner, where kids can have fun jumping in a bouncy house or their fastball clocked on a radar gun. Tickets are $.75 each, with the number of tickets required varying from booth to booth.

The River Cats also offer several promotional events on their calendar, such as last Sunday’s “Jennie Finch Day” to fireworks nights like the April 23 game against the Las Vegas 51s.

One very big event on the summer schedule for Sacramento is the July 13 Triple-A All-Star game, hosted at Raley Field. The event will be preceded by All-Star Monday, two nights earlier, which includes a Home Run Derby and a celebrity softball game.

For tickets, or more information on attending a River Cats game at Raley Field, click onto http://www.rivercats.com or call (916) 371-HITS.

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