Tickets to a Major League Baseball game can be a little confusing to buy if you don't go to many games. Sure the pricing is straightforward, but are you going to have a good view? The fact is that some $ 25 tickets are much better than others; even in the same stadium.
I am going to focus on 3 factors; comfort, price, and experience. These may not all be applicable to you, but hopefully it gets you thinking in the right direction.
Sun / Shade
The boys of summer tend to play when it's hot outside. This is especially true of a day game in July. I have been to many day games where I would rather sit on the last row of the stadium to be in the shade than sit on the front row and bake in the sun. If you have kids whining, this is even more important. For day and evening games there are always sections in the shade. You can look at a Google map to see the direction the ballpark faces and where the sun is going to set. If the sun is in your face for the first 5 innings, it really gets annoying.
Are you a "big" fan?
If you are a little on the heavy side, you may have had to squeeze into a seat before and never want to do it again. There is comfortable seating available for overweight people at most Major League ballparks now. Many stadiums have rows where the aisle seat has an arm rest which flips up, or isn't even there in the first place. This allows you to spread out a little without crowding the person next to you. Don't be afraid or embarrassed to ask the ticket office about this seating option; many times its on a handicapped row, but you don't need to be disabled to sit there.
You can also ask about Standing Room Only tickets. Newer ballparks are adding stand up bar areas where it's more like "leaning room only" where you can put your food and drinks as well. This may be more comfortable for you if the seats get tight.
Buying late can help you find a good deal. This is true if you buy on eBay, as many sellers try to unload tickets close to the event and end up taking a hit because of increased competition. You can also buy from scalpers around the first inning and they have a little more urgency to sell because they just want to get something out of the tickets. Many times in both of these scenarios you can find tickets below face value.
Most teams have special ticket promotions throughout the year, although some are more aggressive than others. Generally there are certain days of the week where a team lowers prices or offers coupons because of low demand. If you check the team website, these days and dates are clearly laid out. Use that information to plan ahead when you are going to a game. This can save you significant money; especially when you are taking a family to a baseball game.
Get A View
The influx of new ballparks have led to some pretty cool surroundings near the stadium. The nice thing is you can often times have a view of something other than the game. I personally like this because it just adds to the experience. For example, some sections can: see the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, View the boats on the Ohio in Cincinnati, and view downtown Pittsburgh at a Pirate game.
Another thing you should try to have a view of is the jumbo screen. Usually this is in the outfield, but it could be in right, left, or center depending on the stadium. If you sit right in front of the jumbo tron you won't be able to see all of the mid-inning entertainment and replays throughout the game. Teams are getting really clever with what is shown up there, so you can really miss quite a bit if you can't see it.
Get a good sightline
I wrote an in depth article about this topic alone, but if you pick the wrong seats in the wrong section, people will walk in front of you all game long. This gets really frustrating because at most ballparks, many people there don't care much about the actual game. I will try to summarize a couple of good points on how you can minimize this problem.
1. If you are sitting down the lines, sit near the aisle furthest from home plate. You may have trouble envisioning this, but people on the other end of the row will have those walking up and down the aisle right in their face all game long.
2. If sitting in the upper deck, sit in the first row or two (usually) or sit near the top. Many front rows actually have the section entrance behind them, so nobody walks in front of you. Sitting near the top usually means very few people end up walking that high, so again you have an unobstructed view.
I hope that this article equipped you with some solid guidelines so you find the best bang for your buck the next time you buy baseball tickets. If you need stadium specific details, see below.