Watching pros? Get out your wallet/Paul Peterson

This is the time of year when people start to think about vacations.

With our spring finally sprung, there’s thought being given by many of going to a Detroit Tigers game while vacationing downstate. Or perhaps going to see a White Sox or Cubs game while in Chicago.

But if watching a major league event is part of your agenda, you might want to go to your local bank for a short-term loan.

Taking in a game in one of our favorite parks is going to cost you plenty.

Let’s say, for discussion purposes, you’re taking a your wife and two children to a game in Chicago or Detroit.

Parking alone, will run around $20 for a White Sox or Tigers game. The tickets, depending on where you sit, will cost approximately $35 to $45 apiece.

Hungry or thirsty? Plan a beer costing you around $7.50, make that $9 per brew in the Windy City.

Non-alcoholic beverages will run a little lower. Purchasing a simple hot dog is going to cost you about $6. Any thing more exotic, tack on a few more bucks.

If – and that’s big if for a family – each member of the party has one item, one will have spent a minimum of $275 for the game. And that’s a conservative number.

I can remember just a few short years ago when my wife and I attended a Tigers-Royals game in Kansas City. Two reasonably good seats in the second deck cost $12 each and drinks were around $2.50.

We walked to the game from our nearby motel, so there wasn’t a parking fee. And the Royals were holding a $1 hot dog night to boot that evening.

Of course, even that was pricey compared the first major league contest I ever attended in 1958. My late father and I paid $2 each for tickets and there was a doubleheader (yes, they used to have twinbills back then) that day between the homestanding Tigers and KC Athletics.

Whatever I spent for a box of popcorn or a candy bar was miniscule … and the memories of those two games were priceless.

Pro football is even more taxing on the wallet.

NFC North teams Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago and Minnesota have average prices between $90 and $140 for a decent seat.

Parking is also pricey in all of these places. The concession stand is another place that dollars will flow from your pockets.

In places like Chicago and Green Bay, the cost of refreshments isn’t abnormally high. But you have to consider that a good majority of the fans there are three or four sheets to the wind before they walk through the gates.

That’s particularly true in Chicago, which has perhaps the most obnoxious fans in the league. Packer fans tend to be more in a festive mood than anything else, although wearing enemy regalia to Lambeau Field will draw more than few hostile taunts.

What it comes down to is … the large majority of us must be content to watch pro sports from the comfort of our living rooms. We can’t afford it.

While that is not all bad, it is kind of sad.