Editor’s Note: We’re digging into our ample archives to find some great articles you might have missed over the years. This one about taking a baby to a Major League Baseball game comes from 2013.
A fellow stay-at-home dad/native of Cincinnati and I recently took our little girls into what we thought would be hostile territory to watch a Reds/Mets baseball game at New York’s Citi Field. It probably didn’t help our cause much with my wearing a Yankees cap.
However, everybody was very polite and nobody said anything.
At least not to our faces.
Given it was around naptime for my Little One when we got off the subway in Queens, I tried to stroller her into a nap. After 10 minutes, I succeeded. Since we could use the strollers in Citi Field, my friend and I decided to push her right inside.
I pulled my diaper bag out of the bottom of the stroller in advance of the gate and unzipped it so the security personnel could inspect the innards to ensure that I wasn’t toting in C4 with my Burt’s Bees Diaper Ointment. With half a glance at the bag, the security guy then asked me to take my baby (she’s really a toddler) out of the stroller, please.
A sleeping baby (um, toddler).
Wake the baby or make a break for it?
Now, as everybody knows, you are asking for a huge world of hurt if you rouse a sleeping baby — toddler — even for baseball. But what was I to do?
My friend was already inside and to turn around at the security checkpoint to hang out in the parking lot until she woke up 35 minutes later likely would have only brought suspicion down on my head. Which might have resulted in my not being allowed into the game at all. And then I would have come to Queens for no reason.
Trust me, if you ever go to Queens, you really ought to have a reason for doing it.
So I pulled her out. She immediately woke up. Satisfied that there wasn’t a grenade strapped to the ass of my kid, the guard waved us through.
This is going to be a disaster, I thought. She was groggy, blurry eyed and cranky. She immediately started with her patented “Go! Go!” that she uses when she doesn’t want to be someplace.
I had made a terrible mistake. And I hated that security guard.
We settled into our seats, which were excellent, by the way: three rows back from the left field wall where home run balls are a real concern when you’ve got a baby (ugh – toddler) on your lap. The seats, had they been crosstown at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx (if you go to The Bronx — brother, you REALLY better have a reason) would have gone for something like $350. Here, they cost only $19 on StubHub. Little One kept up with her “Go! Go!” but then they started to turn into “Yay! Yay!” and clapped her hands with everybody else once the game started.
She actually stayed in her seat and let me put on her hat (pink, Yankees – sorry) and she let me put on her sunglasses (pink), apply sunblock (chalky), and change her out of her pants and into her (pink) shorts when it got hot. My baby — TODDLER — even tracked the baseball that Cincinnati’s Joey Votto hit into the seats about 15 feet from us (in the ESPN SportsCenter highlight of Votto’s home run blast later that night, she appeared as the light pink blur that doesn’t move while everybody else around her stands up and leans left).
Life lessons learned
She also learned from dear ol’ dad that you never throw the baseball back. Never, ever toss it back on the field! No matter how many home fans around you are clamoring for you to do so. Why? Because:
- You might hit and injure a player who isn’t expecting a baseball to come from behind him, and
- This will very likely never happen to you ever again.
You keep the ball. No matter what. Always. The bozo kid who caught the ball in the next section over from us tossed it back, much to the delight of the 30,000 Mets fans on hand. What are parents teaching kids these days?
Little One, it turned out, was great. In fact, both babies — dammit, TODDLERS — were great. Much better than ever could have been hoped for. They even let us stay through the entire game (Reds won 7-4). Who could ask for more than that? A perfect game on a perfect day with the perfect effing offspring? Who could want more than that?
Well, if Joey Votto had smacked that ball about 14 or 15 feet farther to the left and about three rows up, that would’ve been all right, too.
About the author
Jason Duncan (holding Little One in the photo) is a full-time stay-at-home dad, writer, blogger, fly fisher and terrier owner.