15 Cheapest Ways to Eat at the Ballpark

Tips and tricks for saving on food at MLB stadiums

The Smoky Joe Footlong from Minute Maid Park

An estimated 73 million Americans attend a major league baseball game every season. Indeed, for many of us, it just wouldn't be summer without spending at least one afternoon in the stadium stands — foam finger, foamy beer, and stadium hot dog in hand (though hopefully not all three at the same time).

But with big-league games come big-league costs — especially where food and drink are concerned.

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The average ticket for a 2012 major league bout will run you $26.98, according to a study from Team Marketing Research, and compared to the typical ticket prices for other professional sporting events, that's a bargain.

Pairing that cheap baseball ticket with nine innings worth of nosh, however, can slam that reasonable expense right over the fence. Major league teams have, in recent years, introduced a bevy of tempting specialty items with sky-high prices. Fenway Park, for instance, sells a $15 prime rib sandwich, while vendors at the Marlins' Sun Life Stadium want you to spend the same amount on a plate of nachos — served inside a baseball helmet.

Even keeping it simple can get pricey: An average stadium hot dog will this summer cost $4.13, and a 16-ounce beer with run you $6.10, again according to Team Marketing Research. And let's be honest. How many of us are going to eat, or drink, just one?

Fortunately for thrifty baseball fans, it doesn't take much effort to scarf snacks and save cash while reveling in a major league ball game. Check out the following 15 tips for ideas on eating on-the-cheap this baseball season.