Play Ball

We took Will to a Pawtucket Red Sox game (they’re the Boston Red Sox AAA farm team) on Sunday and it was really great. Well, it was great. It was kinda great. Really.

Honestly, asking a 14-month-old kid to sit still for a 3-hour baseball game is a lot. That’s why I fully expected him to last about 4 innings before he went to DEFCON 1 and had an Earth-shattering meltdown that caused us to leave. But with the help of Grandma Donna and Papa Tom, we managed to get all the way to the 9th inning.

This was especially tricky because you’re in a really confined space. Will likes to walk and he hates to be on our laps for extended amounts of time. But with precious little room between our knees and the back of the guy in front of us, it’s a delicate and constant struggle to keep him happy and entertained while keeping the gameday experience fun for the people around you.

You might think you could use toys, but we quickly learned toys end up as projectiles. He throws them or drops them on the people in front of us. So then you give him a bottle, but that’s the same result as the toy. So, you’re stuck trying to bribe him with ballgame food. And that works for a while until he gets bored and instead of eating the food he starts throwing french fries as well.

Now keep in mind you’re totally screwing with his nap schedule. So you try to put him on your lap, curl him up with a bottle and get him to catch a few Zs. Only problem, every time he starts to fall asleep something happens on the field and the crowd goes wild, waking him up.

Eventually, we found the solution.

Just go with it. Pass the kid around and let him get a lay of the land. Butter up the people around you with free french fries and hot dogs, and apologize in advance for any screams, objects thrown at them and general debauchery and chaos your child will ultimately cause. If you’re up front with them and nice about it, you’d be surprised what people will put up with when there’s a ridiculously cute kid involved. And be sure to let your kid wave to people, look around and explore as much as possible without being a total pest.

Will ended up waving at everyone and warming their hearts to the point they didn’t care how loud he was being. He also demanded to kiss most of the women in the immediate area, and at that point they were all putty in his hands and he could do no wrong. He even managed to nap for a couple of innings (it helped that the Paw Sox really sucked and there wasn’t much to cheer about).

In the end, we had a really good time and I’m glad we took him to the game. I was worried about the crowd, about Will’s activity level and pissing everyone around us off. But it’s much better to at least try and get out of the house, than not attempt it at all.

Just wish the Sox had won!

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11 thoughts on “Play Ball

  1. BRAVE MAN. I think I hid out for the first 3 years in my house making the grocery store my main venture out into the world. Of course my Misch is a bit ‘difficult’ and loud! :-)

  2. We have six kids, so the thought of taking them anywhere used to terrify me. But, one winter we let three of them do basketball/cheerleading, and they all learned a “system” (walking in a line — for which we got many comments on, consequences of bad behavior, etc). Now I don’t hesitate to go (unless the 15 month old is in a mood… then I don’t want to chance it).

    Side note: what’s your email address? I’ve tried locating it on your site so either I’m missing it, or it’s not here…

  3. Glad to hear you had a good time. We’re trying the minor league (Class A, NY Penn League) ball game thing on Sunday. We’re going to see the Tri-City Valleycats play the Brooklyn Cyclones. The Valley play close to where we live. My dad got tix for the family (parents, sis & her husband & child & me & my husband & child) and we will be there in our best Mets attire to root for the Cyclones. The Cyclones are affiliated with the NY Mets as opposed to our local team that’s affiliated with the Houston Astros. Seriously, we live in NY — don’t care about the Texas team. It should be a nice family outing and the game will be followed by fireworks for Independence Day. We’ll see how our almost 15 month old handles it.

  4. Ahhh, the perfect day at the ballpark…even the ending! But seriously, thanks for the tips. We won’t take my daughter to a major league game until September, but maybe we’ll check out the Trenton Thunder.

  5. Graceful –

    Don’t you think dressing your kids up in Mets gear is going a bit too far to punish them? The embarassment must be awful! :)

  6. Next summer I have to take Braden to a game. He will be around 18 months by then. I am sure it will be a huge struggle, but one worth the risk. I am not going to see the Cardinals this year for the first time in years. I can take one year off, but next year I will be there screaming kid and all.

  7. Anyone who had a problem with the cuteness that is Will should be put down. Seriously, even when he’s in mid-meltdown he’s adorable.

  8. Every time you take him out it will get easier. The more you do it, the more he gets used to it and the better it is for all!

  9. Old Guy–
    You’re funny! Hey, we won yesterday. I’m a New Yorker who grew up in LI/NYC living in Flushing in 1986. As a Boston devotee isn’t it good enough for you that at least I’m not a Yankee fan? :)

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