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[CHRON] Astros only team in all of MLB that..

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Ron from the G, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Ron from the G

    Ron from the G Contributing Member

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    That does not allow outside food or drinks. Wow I just always assumed that's how it was around the rest of the league. Knowledge is power and this knowledge pisses me the hell off.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/6466064.html

    Food policy for thought
    Those who buy peanuts and Cracker Jack outside Minute Maid Park can’t bring them in
    By DAVID BARRON Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
    June 9, 2009, 12:59AM

    As Major League Baseball does all it can to get recession-strapped fans through the turnstiles, a day at 29 of 30 MLB ballparks includes the option of bringing your own sandwiches, snacks, bottled water, soft drinks or, in some cases, all of the above.

    That leaves the Astros, and their stance on the matter is stated in their A-to-Z fan guide for Minute Maid Park.

    “Visitors may not bring food or beverage items into the ballpark,” it says.

    Banning outside food at Astros games “has been kind of a tradition in Houston,” said Astros owner Drayton McLane, who purchased the team in 1992.

    But in cities such as Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, bringing food to the ballpark is the tradition of choice. And at least four teams — the Nationals, Mariners, Giants and Orioles — consider their

    food policy so essential to fan enjoyment they featured it in MLB’s 23-page outline of “affordable ticket options” for 2009.

    In Seattle, “There is a healthy market of hot dogs, kettle corn, peanuts, etc., on the streets surrounding the ballpark on game days,” said Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale. “I’ve seen people come through turnstiles with stacks of pizza boxes, and once I saw several college-age boys carrying a six-foot sub sandwich through the gate.”

    Garlic fries are a part of the baseball experience at AT&T Park in San Francisco, but the Giants have allowed fans to bring in food since their Candlestick Park days.

    “It gives (fans) a choice, and it gives them options, especially in this economic climate,” said Giants spokeswoman Shana Daum. “Now more than ever, I think they appreciate it.”

    When baseball returned to the nation’s capital, the Nationals were glad to dispense with the bureaucracy of culinary red tape that has been a constant of Astros baseball.

    “We think that we have affordable food options, especially when compared to different sports and entertainment venues,” said Nationals spokeswoman Chartese Burnett. “But we don’t want to make that assumption. If folks want to bring in something, we feel they should be allowed to do so.”

    Baltimore began the trend toward retro-themed baseball parks with Camden Yards in 1992, and fans have always been allowed to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages to the ballpark, said spokeswoman Monica Barlow.

    “This is definitely a popular policy with our fans, especially in these economic times,” she said.

    Most MLB teams list their policies on outside food and drink on their Web sites. Details generally can be found by clicking on the “A to Z Guide” under the stadium tab.

    As for the Astros, Pam Gardner, the team’s president for business operations, said the team has opted to provide less expensive tickets rather than following suit with other teams regarding food and beverage rules.

    “Our financial model, dating back to the Astrodome, was dependent on a number of revenue areas, including food and beverage,” Gardner said in an e-mail. “We elected to make our appeal to fans in the form of a $7 (for adults) and $1 ticket (for children) every day. I don’t think you will find many teams offering a $1 ticket.”

    Indeed, only the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers advertise seats for a buck each. (The Brewers call them “Uecker Seats” in honor of broadcaster Bob Uecker, who made several bucks bragging for assorted commercials about his seat locations.)

    The Colorado Rockies advertise their cheapest tickets at $4 each, and the bottom price for Nationals, Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals games is $5.
    Aramark in the mix

    Gardner also noted that the Astros’ relationship with Aramark, which operates concessions and/or premium food services at 13 MLB parks, including Minute Maid, “is predicated on their exclusivity on food and beverage.”

    An Aramark spokesman would not comment on the company’s relationship with the Astros but said such policies are established by MLB teams “primarily (as) a matter of security and food safety.”

    Even though fans cannot bring food or water into Minute Maid Park, Gardner notes that the move to downtown Houston in 2000 has provided considerably more dining options for fans than the barren landscape of the Astrodome parking lot.

    “Each MLB team designs their model to work in their particular market,” she said. “In our case, our move downtown was intended to provide a variety of choices for fans, including bringing a picnic to enjoy on Halliburton Plaza or taking advantage of the dozens of restaurants around the ballpark. Purchasing food in the ballpark is a choice, and we strive to provide great quality and competitive prices .”

    Gardner and McLane noted the Texans and Rockets ban outside food and drink. Rockets policies are in keeping with those of other NBA teams. The Texans allow tailgating on the Harris County-owned lots surrounding Reliant Stadium. The Astros do not allow tailgating on team-controlled parking lots surrounding Minute Maid Park.
    Packages available

    Like their MLB counterparts, the Astros offer ticket and concession package deals throughout the season. That list includes an all-you-can-eat promotion on Thursdays; the Diamondbacks, Braves, Reds, Dodgers, Pirates and Rangers offer similar plans for each home game.

    In addition to lower prices for outfield deck tickets, the Astros list several incentives in MLB’s 23-page summary of fan economy offers. I ncluded are a Friday night food/ticket/cap package for four fans sponsored by Coca-Cola and 10 “Price Matters” ticket/food combo promotional dates (six dates remain).

    Because Houston’s baseball culture has never in recent memory included the option of bringing food to ballgames, fans at a recent Astros game were generally unfazed by the notion that Houston has MLB’s most restrictive rules in that regard.

    “It never crossed my mind about bringing something in,” Darren Blanton said. “It wouldn’t make any difference to me.”

    Jeremy White of Pasadena, in the middle of downing a plate of nachos on the upper-deck concourse, said less restrictive policies wouldn’t change his plans.

    “I’d still come to the game if I wanted to come to the game,” he said. “Maybe it would be nice to bring a bottle of water, but I normally get a soft drink or a beer every now and then.”

    But some fans come to the park for sports, not dining.

    “We come to watch baseball,” Jeff Solomon of Houston said. “I’m not here to eat.”

    david.barron@chron.com
     
  2. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

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    Gotta love how Drayton spins it as "tradition".
     
  3. JBIIRockets

    JBIIRockets Contributing Member

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    They should at least allow people to bring in bottled water. What a joke.
     
  4. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    I don't see people entering Turner Field with drinks. In fact they had a security guard at the gate making people throw away their drinks before entering the gate. I'm not sure I believe this article.

    Edit: After reading the policy I realize why that is. You can't bring regular coolers, thus I never notice the drinks, and the ones being taken were cans, which are not allowed. I wish I knew about this policy before. It would save me a lot of money. I'll just continue to not drink Beer at games as protest to $7 - $8 beers.
     
    #4 juicystream, Jun 9, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2009
  5. bobrek

    bobrek Not a liberal, regardless of my posts
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    I commented on this story in the Chronicle. Why limit their findings to baseball? How about football, basketball, hockey, etc.? You can tailgate at Texans games, can you bring your cooked food into the stadium? How about opera, musicals, plays, concerts? How about movies?
     
  6. pgabriel

    pgabriel Contributing Member

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    because different sports/entertainment venues have different rules. the nfl rule I would bet is an overall policy for all teams because of the nature of the control over their sport.
     
  7. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Ah tradition! The ceremonial disposing of the water bottle! I remember it from when I was a boy. Nothing says "play ball!" like discarding outside food and beverage!

    Honestly though who cares.
     
  8. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    When I read this at first, I was angry....

    but if this does keep ticket prices down, I'm fine with it. I only eat at the ballpark if I am too rushed for time. Otherwise, I get something before I go.
     
  9. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    I don't understand.
     
  10. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Your Tweety Bird dance just cost us a run

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    come on.. most stadiums don't allow anything and everything in, that's for sure. The article should make that part clear.

    For example, at Nationals Park, you can bring your own food in (though it's almost always just a street hot dog).. as for drinks, you can bring in water--but only 1 bottle of water, up to 1 liter, and it must be sealed. Otherwise, no go


    I think if there were al ot of street vendors around MMP, they might be pushed in a different direction after a while. It's just not that kinda city, though...esp. not in the summer
     
  11. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    i've always thought that the stadiums that do allow drinks in usually do so because the stadiums are outside. if it gets hot and people start passing out from heat exhaustion (yeah, i'm talking about you, Arlington), you can't have a rule that prohibits people from bringing in drinks.

    i'd love to have the option to bring in food. but i don't care enough about it to have them raise ticket prices.

    i'd love to have crawford look like yawkey way.
     
  12. JunkyardDwg

    JunkyardDwg Contributing Member

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    I dunno I don't think it's that big a deal. And there is a flipside to it. Astros tickets are super cheap. And with the dollar hot dog days or other deals they offer, shoot you can go to the ballpark and have a meal for under 10 dollars if you really wanted to. So if banning outside food and drink keeps the tickets prices low that's fine with me.

    And it's all about choices too. I choose not to waste 7 bucks on a beer at the stadium. Rather, I'll spend 4.50 on a large coke; or like the last time I went, get a coke for free by signing up to be a designated driver. And even if they allowed outside food, well nothing beats a ballpark hot dog.
     
  13. candlegreen

    candlegreen Contributing Member

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    That makes sense. Sealed bottles avoid the dangers of people bringing stuff other than "water" inside the park. I was also thinking of outside venues. This is just one way for a writer to find things to instigate uproars.

    The one thing the Astros could do is to consider the prices of their food. All you can eat Thusdays for $35 is ridiculous, even if the ticket is worth $10 or so.
     
  14. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    I usually like David Barron, but this piece kind of comes off as a hit-piece gone wrong. Even the 3 people he interviews at the end of the story don't give a crap. It's almost as if he couldn't find anyone that actually cared one way or another.

    Much ado about nothing.
     
  15. SWTsig

    SWTsig Contributing Member

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    you're fooling yourself if you think this is keeping ticket prices down... hell, in the article they named at least 1/2 a dozen teams with tickets practically as cheap as what the Astros provide.

    this is about Amark and the Astros "tradition" of making as much profit as possible.
     
  16. Hey Now!

    Hey Now! Contributing Member

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    agreed. missing, i think, is that people LIKE buying/eating stadium food - same way we like buying/eating awful popcorn and sourpatch kids at the movies - it's part of the experience and i'd wager a lot of people feel the same way. i never ever go to a game and don't get a helmet ice cream. it's like a law, or something, for me. MMP = helmet ice cream.

    additionally, while i'm sure a lot of people would appreciate being able to bring in their own food and save a few bucks (or 20), another element to this not addressed in the article is that i'm guessing a decent percentage of people at astro games are there on a company's dime, freeing up cash to spend on food.

    lastly, i've been going to sporting events since 1976; you've NEVER been allowed to bring food to stadiums here. ever. so another decent percentage of fans, i'm sure, don't know any other way.

    all told, i think it adds up to a non-story.
     
  17. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Your Tweety Bird dance just cost us a run

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    interesting--i quit helmet ice cream after the Dome, sadly!
     
  18. Nick

    Nick Contributing Member

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    I think movie theaters are worse. Some don't let you bring in coffee... that would be fine if there was coffee available to buy, but most movie theaters don't sell coffee.

    Stadium food is far more palatable than movie food... in fact, anybody else notice the MMP stand that serves a certain dish depending on which visiting team is there? (Buffalo burger for Colorado, Chicago-style hot dogs for Chicago, fish tacos for Padres).

    I thought that was a nice addition.
     
  19. spence99

    spence99 Member

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    I agree with this. Drayton will charge as much per ticket as he can get away with. The not allowing outside food and drink has nothing to do with it.
     
  20. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    as i recall, they've been doing that since 2000. i always go check out to see what dish they're serving up for each team.
     
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