Baseball and math add up

Today we will discuss a simple mathematical equation.

Baseball = Life

On the surface, it's a pretty simple equation. But it can be expanded to read the following: stitches/323(Yankees) * Concession stands^3+tickets - 37(fungoes) = Life

Some people don't like baseball. That's inevitable, especially with the 1994 strike and most teams abolishing cool-but-interesting uniforms and color combinations. The Journal Review salutes Jose Cruz, Mike Scott, Kevin Bass and the rest of the Houston Astros each day on our front page flag (Editor's note: the top of our page each day is orange-yellow. It's supposed to look like a sunrise or something. It's really hideous).

Like all professional sports, with the exception of shuffleboard, a big problem is money. Remember the good ol' days when you could go to the ballpark, grab admission, drinks, a scorecard, a bag of peanuts and an afterdinner mint for less than college tuition?

Currently, a family of four could pay close to $100 at any professional venue. Tickets, drinks and mascot autographs are necessities on a night at the park. But there are a few ways to cut costs, without using double coupons.

Get to the park early, at least a week in advance. You may be able to talk others out of their tickets, especially during the middle of a homestand in Pittsburgh. I wouldn't recommend sneaking in after a game and trying to spend the night inside the park. It's a thought, though.

Once inside, your first target should be dumpsters. My brother and I used to find bats, helmets and baseballs all through Cardinal Stadium, home to the Louisville Redbirds. If you find enough items and need a beer, trying selling the equipment. Unfortunately, there are laws against that, so be careful.

Don't forget batting practice, meaning don't forget to bring your glove. Stake out a spot early. You should be able to get one, assuming you don't get mauled by little kids.

Speaking of little kids, if you have some, bring them along. Kids like baseball, and sometimes, people are lenient if you have a few. "No, I'm sharing a seat with her. What? She's 5 months old. Doesn't that mean I get in for the children's price?"

After a season of baseball greatness in 1998, expect more in '99. The Orioles played an exhibition against Cuba in March and will play another in May. San Diego and Colorado opened the season in Mexico. Three players — Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. — could reach 3,000 hits. Five ballparks will bid adieu. And don't forget about the new home run chase. Some players are already on pace to hit 4,109,150 homers, or one home run per hot dog sold that day.

If you cannot make it to a major league game, go watch the Indianapolis Indians. I have yet to take in a game at Victory Field, but from what I hear, it's great. And be sure to find out where the best dumpsters are located.