win or lose, playoffs or not, there are two things you can count on from the Seattle Mariners. First, do not bet on the hydroplane with the lead at the start of the seventh inning race. Second, some games will be the cheapest night in Seattle.

The Value Game Distinction appears on 28 of the Mariners’ 81 home games – easy to miss until the online ticket counter. There, the buyer is presented with two prices for many tickets. Would you pay $15 for this bleacher seat, or $10? At the terrace level, only about 40 rows from the batter, $60 or $30? Two prices, same seat. (Tip: choose the cheapest.)

Technical publication The bustle did the math on classic American outings and found that, adjusting for inflation, it cost about $102 to take a family of four to the ballpark – tickets, beer, hot dogs, parking – in 1960, but the same experience costs over $200 today. Parking alone, they calculate, has skyrocketed 6,616% since the days of Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, compared to the cumulative inflation rate of 888%. While Seattle doesn’t boast the worst prices in baseball in the country (the cheapest beer at Mets stadium is $12, that almost sounds cruel), it’s not an outlier.

Hence the joys of the stadium’s new value menu, the second leg of a Mariners game at an alarming price. T-Mobile Park eateries may include a Din Tai Fung and acai bowls, but the more generic Rolling Roof snack stands rock a Menu worth $3: hot dogs, peanuts, sodas, a modest pile of nachos. There are even $5 beers, though. spot 12 ounce cans in a sea of ​​giant $13 payouts, it might take a half round or two.

Thanks to light rail, the entire door-to-door Mariners experience can cost less than $30 per person. Of course, value ticket nights are mostly weekday games, and mostly not promotional days with free t-shirts or bobbleheads. The value of hot dogs can hardly compare to a meal of Edgar’s Cantina Grilled Grasshoppers. The field will not be closed.

But a seat on the bleachers over a pile of peanut shells — or lit by the glow of cheap nacho cheese — is shorthand for classic Americana. And when in the river of fans walking from the light rail station to the entrance to the outdoor stadium, a crowd of Ichiro jerseys pass by the mural of Ken Griffey Jr., it doesn’t seem very important if the Mariners win or lose. . And that’s probably a good thing.