Hot dog: $4.50
Baseball hat: $20
Not many professional sports teams can point to losing as a successful marketing gimmick.
The Chicago Cubs likely wouldn't agree that failing is to their benefit, and their fans certainly wouldn't call their perennial losing charming. What can you say, however, is that despite the Cubs' title drought (103 years and counting), the team is generally one of the league leaders in attendance year in and year out -- with prices to match.
Cubs fans are remarkable for being some of the most simultaneously resigned yet optimistic fans in the game, but you can only give so much credit to the more than 3 million paying customers who showed up last year when they're saying "wait till next year" in one of the greatest sports venues still standing.
The friendly confines of Wrigley Field was built in 1914 and is seemingly more remedial and alluring than ever. Wrigley Field is the only ballpark in the five most expensive to have a drop in the Fan Cost Index for 2011 -- down 1.2 percent, to $305.60.
The $46.90 you'll spend for an average ticket doesn't turn to magic pretend money once you enter a living legend like Wrigley. It just probably won't hit you as hard as the iconic brick wall lining the field when you realize how many generations have taken in a game from your very vantage point. And watched the Cubs lose. Not a steal by any means, but maybe best considered as a gilded, living history lesson.
Play-ball tip: Buy a soda and hot dog, skip the hat.