Monday, April 9, 2012

Play Ball!

I've been going to baseball games for as long as I can remember.  My dad took me to games fairly regularly when I was a kid.  We lived in southwestern Connecticut, so the Mets or the Yankees were the games we went to.  I can't say that I had any real allegiance to any team (and still don't), but the experience of going to the park was always a good one - even if my dad wanted to quiz me on all the goings-on of the game (of which I still know relatively little and I played the damn sport up through 7th grade).  At the games, my father preferred to listen to the game on his bulky, wireless, am/fm, school bus yellow headphones.  I always thought he looked like a dumbass with them on and had no desire to listen to what he was listening to when he would offer me the chance.  I guess I just don't appreciate what subtle nuances there are to the game, I just want to see home runs, damnit!

Since those days, I haven't gone to baseball games all too often.  I'm just not a big baseball fan.  I love sports, but baseball is relatively low on my list:  it's a slow sport, too much stop and go and the season is god awfully long.  There are twice the number of games as compared to basketball and ten times the number of games compared to football.  One would think that with more games there would be more excitement...not in my opinion.  You know a sport is aware of it's relative dullness when they play games mid-day in the middle of the week.  But baseball became a social interaction for me.  If friends were going, it was always "yeah sure, I'll come along".  Until I became a father.

Whether sexist or not, boys are to baseball what bacon is to...well...everything.  Sure girls get into it, but for the most part let's be's a guy thing.  So when the Big Guy was born, my interest in the sport was somewhat reinvigorated, at least as far as going to the games.  We went to about 10-12 games his first year and continued that during his second and third as well.  We even got the Little Guy out to his first game two weeks after he was born.

This year, however, I thought it would be fun to hit up Opening Day.  I don't think that I have ever been to an opening day here or anywhere else for that matter.  Tickets are usually impossible to get unless you are on top of it when sales open up.  I was on top of it this year, Opening Day as well as about 8 other games too.  So we are set for the season now.

Opening Day was just this past Thursday (April 4th).  The Padres played the Dodgers.  Game time: 4:05 PM.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but if you've never been (and I can only imagine how crazy it is in major markets like Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago) expect traffic and lots of it.  The thing about the Padres is that in a month everyone will more or less forget about them and getting to the game and finding parking will be a breeze as always, this day however, it was terrible.

So after being re-routed around the stadium and back out to the freeways, only to come back in the same way.  I decided to hit up my go-to in a pinch parking garage.  It's $30 to park, but you have the convenience of being just two blocks from the stadium.  However, this time the gate to the garage wouldn't open.  It's one of those gates where you stick in your credit card to open it, and then when you leave you place the same credit card in the exit gate to be charged and then you're off.  Today, it would not be that easy.  To make a long story short (about a 20 minute long ordeal), we finally made it to the game relatively unscathed.

The Big Guy wanted a new hat and seeing as I love hats, I was all too happy to oblige.  So we got him his very first fitted cap!  Sure, it's a little big on him, but if you've been here before you may have noticed his humongous noggin.  It won't be long before he fills that S.O.B. out.

I made the boys hang out with me on the grass while I tried to take in a few innings of opening day baseball.  I had dealt with the traffic.  I coughed up the money for parking.  And I didn't choke out the people who found it necessary to cut the guy ( off with the child strapped to his chest and one in the stroller while trying to go through the turnstiles.  "Hurry up fatties...they may run out of triple extra large, chinsy Padres shirt give aways in the next 30 seconds".  Bunch of schmucks.  But I digress.

I told the Big Guy that after four innings we would go to the playground (Petco Park has a great little playground and mini ball field for the kids, needless to say it is awesome).  And though that is what we did:  between trying to get the boys to stay on the blanket, feed the Little Man and keep the Big Guy from running into everyone and everything, I maybe watched a total of one inning (my usual when with the boys).

We made it to the playground, the Big Guy got his ice cream and aside from the additional hassle of getting out of the parking garage after we left the stadium, the day was a pretty good day.  It was a first for all of us and there aren't many of those that I get to hang on the wall:  an experience we all share for the first time, where no one has the clif notes.  I know that neither of the boys appreciated the fact that this was a big deal in the sporting world and for us as guys, but that's cool.  I enjoyed it.  I won't do it again next year or any year thereafter (okay...maybe when the boys are older and perhaps beg me to take them), but I enjoyed it.  I'm looking forward to when San Diegans forget about the Padres, we're about three weeks away from that inevitability!  Oh yeah, and the Padres lost...shocker.  Go Padres!

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