My son has been officially indoctrinated into the world of baseball. A couple of days ago I took him to his first Major League Baseball game.
My Dad has a friend with season tickets for the Yankees. He, my Dad, asked me if I wanted to go and bring my oldest daughter, 11, to the game. He was going to take my niece, 5, as well. Our oldest isn’t a big fan of sports so my son got the call (see that, a baseball-like reference?).
To put some things in reference, my son is 4 years old. Since the weather has been getting slightly warmer he’s been taking an interest in baseball again (over the Winter, life was more about being a ninja or a samurai – I guess that’s a cold-weather profession). He’s been carrying around his baseball glove, carrying around MY baseball glove, and I recently got him a new Mets had since his old one was getting too small (this meant getting one for our youngest daughter, 21 months, because she would keep trying to take his – she adores him).
So to say he was already a little interested in baseball before my Dad asked to go would be an understatement.
On the day of the game I told the little guy about how foul balls sometimes go into the stand and that the ballplayers sometimes throw a ball into the stands. This meant he had to bring his glove (hey, I almost brought mine). We didn’t know exactly where the seats were but I figured it would be fun for him anyway.
We hopped in the car and were off to pick up Dad (Grandpaw) and my niece.
Fortune was with us as traffic wasn’t too bad and we got to Yankee stadium in no time (if you live in NY then you know how bad the Cross Bronx can be around rush hour).
Funny thing – None of us had been to the new stadium yet. On the off ramp we see a bunch of cars lined up in the left lane and assumed they were heading to Yankee Stadium but weren’t sure. Straight ahead, we can see the giant baseball bat that used to mark the old stadium. My Dad and I looked at each other and wondered where the stadium was. A quick look to the left and we the huge stadium looming in the distance. D-oh!
So we drive up to the stadium and start looking for the lots to park.
Do you know how much it costs to park near Yankee Stadium?!?
Let me start with some context. A few years ago we went to see the Mets at Shea. I was bummed to see that parking cost about $13. I mean, what a ripoff, right?
Yankee Stadium costs $35!!
We checked a few lots in the area and it was all the same. It’s possible there are lots a little further away that could be cheaper but we didn’t have the time or patience to find out (if we go again I’ll check online).
The tickets were free so the parking wasn’t too bad a hit but it was a lot more than we expected.
A note about safety – before we got out of the car I made sure to tell both kids that Yankee stadium has tens of thousands of people there. I made sure they understood that it would be easy to get lost. The kids were to stay by our sides at all times. There would be no wandering around to look at stuff. We would gladly stop, all they had to do was ask. I also pointed out the police officers and the stadium personnel to the kids should anything actually happen and we were separated. A little fear goes a long way and I’d rather be safe than sorry.
We had a nice bonus at the game – free baseball cap night!
I had looked up the promotions before we left (yeah, I know, I should have looked up parking) to see if they had anything. Free baseball cap night solved a slight problem for us – my son wouldn’t have to wear his Mets hat. Yankee fans aren’t really all that bad (not all of them anyway) but I still didn’t want to have any attention drawn to my son from a drunk fan that might decide to give his opinion on the cross-town team.
A moment of kismet. My very first Yankee game, many years ago, was also on a free baseball cap promotion day. I don’t know what that means really. A cool connection? I like to go when they give out free stuff? Seems like an interesting coincidence.
The stadium was huge!
From all over it looked as though you would have good seats. Our seats were in the terrace, up top. We were above the outfield between first base and the outfield wall. It was a bit far up but you could see all the players and still hear the sound of the ball hitting the glove.
We got in our seats just in time for the first batter. After the first inning I headed out to get some snacks for us. Free tickets rarely end up free. A small popcorn was $7. I forget the exact prices of the other snacks and drinks, but they weren’t cheap. The prices weren’t relatively as bad as parking though but they still weren’t cheap.
The game started off great! The Yanks must have known we were coming because A-Rod and Posada both hit home runs.
All good thing things have to end though. Since the kids are young, and my niece had school the next day, we left after the fifth inning. This also made traffic incredible easier and we got home in a breeze.
On the way back I asked the kids if they had fun. A resounding yes from both! I then asked them what their favorite part of the game was. Here’s my son’s answer:
Sitting and eating popcorn.
My niece concurred as that was her favorite as well.
The house that Ruth built, with hall of fame players on the field in from of them, at their very first baseball game – eating popcorn was their favorite.
What can I expect though? They are 4 and 5 years old. Truth be told, they both had fun and behaved wonderfully. I really couldn’t ask for more.
Interesting side-note – My niece asked my son if he liked the Mets as well as the Yanks. He told her yes, he liked them both (he was wearing a Yankee hat at the time). My niece responded that she doesn’t like the Mets and only liked the Yankees (I’m the black sheep in my family who like the Mets BTW). My son’s response was sweet and interesting – “Why not? How come you don’t like them?”
He asked not like a fan asking about the pros and cons of a team like most of us would ask. He asked like a concerned kid wondering what it could be that would make my niece not like a team. My words can’t really portray it, but it sounded so innocent how my son couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t like a team. I don’t know, it moved me.
Another interesting comment – The little guy asked why no one hit the ball to him or threw him a ball. I told him how a player will sometimes throw a ball into the stands or hit a foul into the stands. Little guy was fully expecting a ball to come to him.
The first baseball game was a huge success! A couple of nights later and my son is wearing his new cap to sleep. When I asked him, he said he definitely wants to go back. Mission accomplished! I feel like I passed some Dad right-of-passage. But more important, I got to spend some real quality time at a baseball game with three generations of the family.
Photo by Sothiopental