Thursday, July 28, 2005

ah, you can't beat fun at the old ball park

That's what Harry used to say, and he's right.

In our quest for normalcy for our kids in the midst of the insanity of heading to the "far east" (so far east, we go west) we decided to head out the "The Brick" and catch our local boys playing the Iowa Cubs (pure coincidence I assure you). We called a friend who hooked us up with tickets (one row behind home plate - thanks Nancy) and off the five of us went.
We had a great time. Caleb is big time into baseball right now and an eternal optimist when it comes to the Cubs, so every opportunity (and lots of non-opportunities) to score was a huge deal to him and fun to watch. Nathan on the other hand could care less about watching baseball, but spent the night tracking the whereabouts and hijinks (really?) of Rowdy the Redhawk capped by his own encounter with Rowdy in the stands late in the game (thanks again Nancy). Hannah? Not so much into baseball, but a big fan of peanuts so everybody had their thing.
Minor League baseball is great because the event is far more about goofiness between innings than the actual baseball. Dot races, kids racing the mascot around the bases, guessing movie quotes from the big screen, interns in cowboy hats on the dugout singing "Oklahoma" - AAA has it all. As we're walking to our seats before the game, this employee walks up to Caleb and asks him if he wants to go out on the field and catch a popfly and win a prize. Ever the cautious youngster, Caleb respectfully (but emphatically) declines. The guy then turns to me and says, "how 'bout you, dad?" (I'm assuming here he was referring to the fact that I had three kids in tow and not my age relative to his own). Ever the nine-year-old, I readily accepted. So I find myself on the field a few minutes later with a 9 and 11 year old "competing" to win fabulous prizes. 11 year old makes the catch. 9 year old makes the catch. I find out later that at this point Caleb is greatly concerned in the stands that Dad is going to besmirch the family name by dropping the big one and losing to elementary school students. I must admit, the thought crossed my mind. The ball is up, he's under it, and the 34 year old with his son's glove makes the catch. Inning over. Crowd goes wild. Kids heckle the old guy.

With the good always comes the questionable (especially in public in Oklahoma for some reason). There was the very drunk woman with the amazing volume who heckled every Cub player with "whatcha gonna do" (much harder to discern in the later innings, I don't think there is a last call at The Brick). There was the couple behind us who at one point whipped out pictures of their bulldog dressed in various costumes to show Nathan. (my personal favorite was the football player, but I digress) There was watching the further demise of Corey Patterson who at one point in the night was hitting .191 (in AAA!!). But none of that matters. Baseball is baseball and there is no such thing as a bad night at the ballpark. Unless of course you happen to be Corey Patterson.
It wasn't quite the idyllic night Caleb and I had last year. But it was good stuff. And I won an Adrian Gonzalez Redhawks Photoball, so I got that going for me.

As we walked to the car, Caleb was already figuring out when he and I could go again after we get home from China. It does a dad's heart good.


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