This post originated with this phrase. Where it goes from here? Who knows. But it has got me to thinking about things. Bigger things.
Several weeks ago, my 3 1/2 yr old son asked me to teach him to catch. He handed me a football and led me to the backyard. We tried and failed, frustrations mounted on both parties and we decided to hold off a little bit.
Then I got a call from a buddy of mine over at DadScribe.
“Hey, wanna go watch a baseball game?”
“Sure! Let me ask my wife….she says I CAN!”
Plans were made and the big day arrived. Now, let me be up front here. The Tampa Bay Rays footed some dollars for us to be there. The game ticket was free, as was the food and beverages. They even gave us some swag and asked us to talk about it some. (That’s coming later.)
The whole thing about my son wanting to learn how to catch was still in the back of my mind. It’s just a sign that he’s entering into another level of kidhood that I wasn’t ready for. Sports. He’s not totally into them, but if a football game is on, he starts yelling for touchdowns and cheers. It’s cute and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
But playing catch is something different. So, I’ve decided to let my son start experiencing different sports. Whether through actually playing them, watching them, or pretending to play them in the backyard. So, this opportunity coming up allowed me the chance to see what bringing my son might be like. (I wasn’t able to bring him this time, and that’s okay.)
So, DadScribe and I show up to the game. We had to pay for our parking which wasn’t entirely cheap, but there are cheaper lots further out. We picked up our tickets at the Will Call booth and headed in. This is what we saw:
We made our way up to the suite they reserved for the bloggers and grabbed our seats before noshing on some snacks. They had a pretty good layout of the different foods you might find at the game. (The fresh made potato chips were awesome.) After a little while of chatting with other area bloggers, a rep from The Rays came in and gave us a talking to about what all the team was doing etc.
It was hard to hear from the background noise, but something he said really stood out to me. They chose the “Welcome Home” tag because they want you to have a good time whether the team is winning or not. I thought that was interesting. So, I inquired as to what was available to the younglings in case they lost interest in the ball game. Because, I’m 40 years old and even I get restless sometimes. What? I’m human!
Long story short, they have a bunch of stuff for the kiddos and not all of it is baseball themed, even.
During the 3rd inning we tromped around the Trop and I found some stuff that my son would really like.
They have pitching and batting simulators for the older kids. There’s some midway style games for the younger ones.
While most of the games do cost money, they are something available to help break the grind of a long game.
There’s a room where kids can color pictures and hang them on the walls.
There’s a small play are in a foodcourt.
Even the architecture was enough to make me stop and stare for awhile.
So, after getting back to the suite and watching Longoria field an awesome catch while throwing the runner out at 1st base all while on his butt, I started thinking. Carter Gaddis (AKA DadScribe) used to be a sport’s writer. And he said that while watching the game you had to try to find the story. That made me think. (For a TOTALLY different perspective on the exact same game, read his post here.)
The story for me is this:
The Rays have done an outstanding job of trying to accommodate families who want to go watch a ballgame. From the ‘fan perspective’, I had a great time…even though we lost. I was amazed at all of the stuff to do. AND I haven’t even covered the best two parts, yet!
And to top it off, there are diaper changing stations all OVER the place! No excuse, dad! 😀
So, I said earlier, my son’s wanting to learn catch got me to thinking. And after he just about went berzerk at the sporting goods store for a baseball mitt, I’ve decided he’s ready. And I better get that way too. Soon.
With that, I’ll be posting more items about kids and sports and different programs that are available. If you have a program you like, let me know! I’ll be happy to post it on the new page I’m working on. Until then, I’m going to go outside and teach my boy how to play catch.
If you have a MLB team in your area, are they reaching out to the blogging community like The Rays are? I don’t know where this is heading, but I’m more than happy to ride this out.
WAIT! WHAT ABOUT THE SWAG??
You guys don’t miss a thing, do you? Okay, they passed out some swag bags on the way out. And I’m sad to say I missed the deadline on letting my Tampa peeps know about one of the pieces. My laptop died and I had to fix an old desktop just to get this post up. (Never fear, the replacement has been ordered.)
Sunday, April 7th
Richard Price figurine:
Sunday, April 21st
Wednesday April 24th
Joe Maddon Gnome: