Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman is an expert on modern conservatism and U.S. politics, but she also knows a thing or two about baseball. Her expertise on the subject was recently sought by WalletHub for an article on “2017’s Best Baseball Cities.”
The Oct. 25 article features rankings of the top 363 baseball cities in America, along with picks for best and worst performing major, minor and college baseball teams, and teams with the most and least engaged fans.
Deutchman weighs in as a baseball expert answering opinion questions posed by the site. She tags Minneapolis, San Diego and Kansas City as her personal favorites for game-watching but cautions readers that budget has a lot to do with where your favorites will be.
“Obviously,” Deutchman writes, “if we have to fly to Cleveland, stay in a hotel, go out to dinner and then go to a game, that’s one budget. [But] when I lived in Philadelphia, a long time ago, we would often go to games any time we wanted, and usually get very inexpensive seats and have a hot dog at the stadium for dinner and that was wonderful.”
The full text of the WalletHub article is as follows. To see the actual rankings, check out the article here.
2017’s Best Baseball Cities
Oct 25, 2017 / Richie Bernardo, Senior Writer
What does it take to be a true baseball fan? Mostly a lot of patience and sometimes a lot of dough, depending on how closely you want to follow the sport. In this slow-paced ballgame, hits and home runs are less frequent than strikes and misses. Yet more than 52 million U.S. adults are willing to put in the time to watch the drama unfold.
Fans are willing to pay top dollar to see a game, too, especially during the highly anticipated World Series that kicks off every October. Of course, tickets are kinder to the wallet during the regular season. But to see Game 1 of the 113th World Series on Oct. 24, for instance, the cheapest seat at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles would cost $1,060, according to TicketIQ. For Game 7 on Nov. 1 at the same stadium, the damage would range from a starting price of $1,328 all the way to a whopping $139,667, as of Oct. 20. That doesn’t leave much room for peanuts and cracker jacks. And that’s not mentioning the hundreds of millions of dollars wagered by the betting market every year.
But it’s more fun — and cheaper — to love on baseball in certain parts of America, so which cities would fans consider a home run? WalletHub crunched the numbers to find out, comparing more than 360 of the largest U.S. cities with at least one professional or college baseball team, grouped by division. In each city, we looked at 31 key indicators of baseball fan-friendliness. They range from performance level of team(s) to average ticket price per game to stadium accessibility. Read on for the winners, a ranking by city size and a full description of our methodology.
Below the rankings, you’ll find commentary from baseball experts about the challenges facing the sport, advice on enjoying the ballgame on a budget and more. Make sure to also check out WalletHub’s 2017 World Series Facts – Dodgers vs. Astros infographic for fun and interesting stats about the matchup.
Ask the Experts
As baseball grows in popularity in the U.S. and abroad, so will the challenges for those in the industry. For insight into those issues, advice on enjoying the ballgame and more, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in with their thoughts on the following key questions:
- What are the biggest issues facing MLB today?
- How has fantasy sports affected fans’ enjoyment of MLB?
- What is your take on the time-based contract structure used by MLB, as well as the various other spending constraints imposed by the league?
- Who are your picks to win the World Series, MVP and Cy Young Awards?
- What is the best way to enjoy a baseball game on a budget?
Iva E. Deutchman
Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges
What are the biggest issues facing MLB today?
The best city for baseball depends on how you are asking the question. In other words, if you live someplace (or someplace close) to a ballpark, it’s one issue. If you have to travel, it’s another. Frankly, in terms of travels, we loved Minneapolis (the new stadium is wonderful), San Diego (the city itself is what heaven looks like, I’m sure) and Kansas City — another wonderful city. But the love of those cities has a lot to do with budgets. Obviously, if we have to fly to Cleveland, stay in a hotel, go out to dinner and then go to a game, that’s one budget. When I lived in Philadelphia, a long time ago, we would often go to games any time we wanted, and usually get very inexpensive seats and have a hot dog at the stadium for dinner and that was wonderful. Of course, I was younger than. Now my needs and preferences are different.
I am sure that the number of professional sports makes the whole industry more competitive. So, that has to be a big issue facing baseball — but then it also faces basketball, football, tennis, you name it. Here’s an interesting question: are fans sports fans in general, or baseball/swimming/basketball fans in particular? I am only a baseball fan (so another long winter is starting today) — but are most fans also fans of other sports? I think that would matter a lot.
Who are your picks to win the World Series, MVP and Cy Young Awards?
Baseball picks for 2017 — Dodgers win the World Series, MVP is Altuve for the AL. Not sure about the Nats. Cy Young: anyone who pitches for the Astros.