By Joe Palumbo
If you decided to go for broke and purchase field-level tickets, you would be paying $172 just for the tickets alone. Now let's add in four sodas, four hotdogs, a scorecard (maybe two because both kids want their own) and you have just parted with approximately another $60 bringing you to a grand total of about $232. Now that is if you decide to go with only one round of food and drinks.We can approach the $300 or more mark if we start buying T-shirts and/or uniform tops. Of course, we won't even factor in parking and the cost of transportation to get to the big ballpark. Heaven forbid you decided to go across town to the Yankees. The exact same equation pans out to somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 Ñ and that is without any T-shirts or uniform tops included.So if the average American is making $35,000 to $40,000 a year, that means going to a Mets game just about knocks out a week's pay and the Yankees may put you in the red to enjoy one game of America's favorite pastime. I remember when baseball was a game for the kids, when it wasn't all about dollars and cents. I remember all-star games played in the afternoon, not late at night when kids should be in bed or have fallen asleep trying to stay up past midnight because the game started past 9 p.m. so the networks can make even more money on commercial ads.Our glorious summer and fall classic heroes, however, have to make the big bucks. Some players rake in as much as $50,000 an at-bat, which is a salary many people live off pre-taxed on a yearly basis. My question is, when will this bubble burst? When will people say I just can't afford to go, I won't pay that much for tickets and overly inflated food and drinks to pay the players already exorbitant salaries?So how's business in the world of baseball? Well, pretty comfortable financially for the athlete and, hey, it can be pretty comfortable for the fans Ñ as long as the fans watch the games at home in front of the television. Joe Palumbo is the fund manager for the Palco Group Inc. and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 718-461-8317.