Eva Goes to the Ballpark

If you know me or read this blog, you have a pretty good idea that I enjoy sports. All kinds of sports. Football, basketball, I watch the Triple Crown races in horse racing, the Indy 500, etc. My wife tolerates most sports. The one sport that we can agree on is baseball. We’ve been going to baseball games for a long time, at one point having season tickets to the Omaha Royals (now the Storm Chasers). Our tickets were 5 rows up behind the opponents dugout. We got to see future big leaguers like Billy Butler, Mike Aviles, Felix Pie, Rick Ankiel, and fading stars like Sandy Alomar Jr. and Mike Sweeney. We usually got to see them with lots of leg room, as those games almost never sold out.

That team was a triple a team, meaning that it was one step below the majors. Here in Dayton, we have the Dragons. They are a low A team. Here’s the order of minor league teams :

Triple A (<- Omaha)
Double A
High A
Low A (<-Dayton)
Rookie Ball

Dayton’s team is a full three levels below Omaha’s. Dayton’s team is made up of players born in the 90’s, among whom there might be 2-3 who make it to the majors. The level of play is not as good.

Yet, Dayton just last year broke the record for most consecutive sell outs. We put our names on the wait list for season tickets when we moved here, four years ago, and still haven’t heard anything. Now, it’s not hard to get tickets, but the place is always pretty full. Dayton loves their team here.

We were lucky to get tickets over the weekend from a friend, so it was time for Eva’s first ballgame. It was a Saturday night game, and the weather was nice. The tickets were in the shade, so we didn’t have to worry about sun too much, just the walk over to the stadium.

We put a hat on Eva, and made our way to the stadium. For the first time, I was the one they stopped at the gate to check my purse, er, my diaper bag. “Is this all baby stuff?”, I was asked. Not the time for a smart alec reply, so I said yes and moved on. Baby formula, the last outside food you can bring in.

We found our seats and sat. Normally I’d get food at this point, but a certain someone wanted to be fed. As we fed her, the seats to either side of us filled in. To our left, a family sat down. The seat directly to our left was occupied by dad(?) and his special needs child. The boy was great during the game, despite the fact that you could tell he grew bored of it at times. The problem for us was that dad was a bigger guy, and with his son on his lap he spread his legs out, squeezing us out of our area.

Further down the row there were a number of empty seats. The group on our other side could have slid over to accommodate the two families with children next to them. I understood not sliding for the first two innings (when people still could have come), but not after.

Anyway, we swapped seats to give us and them more room, and it worked out fine.

It was Hometown Heroes night at the game. A tribute to our military, with a number of activities, including the flag coming via parachuters.

We stood up for the national anthem. I could hear a baby start crying….wait, that’s my baby! What do I do? Do I stop saluting the flag to tend to her, or stand my ground? I soothe her, and mommy sings the national anthem in her ear, and she calms down.

We sit down, and enjoy the game. During one of the between inning events, they introduced a number of vets returning from their tours overseas. In fact, one of the vets was also in one of our adoption classes! Congrats to him and family for his return and the resumption of their adoption journey!

In the row in front of us were girlfriends of two of the players. How do I know this (besides the fact that they were dressed for a party rather than a ballgame)? There was a man sitting just down from them that talked to them. A lot. Like creepy amounts. Asking all sorts of questions. Casually dropping that he’s a house flipper who does pretty well. Yada yada. Eva take note, stay away from creepy guys.

Around the 3rd inning, the camera guy came lurking. He takes those candid shots of kids waving to the camera, adorable couples, and cute babies. Wait, we have a cute baby! I see Mom notice the camera. She is equal parts excited to have Eva on the big screen and mortified that she might be on the big screen. However, today will not be that day. She was blocked/saved by creepy guy moving over a couple of seats to be closer to the girls, thus blocking the camera.

We make it to the fifth inning before leaving Fifth Third Field. Luckily(?) the Dragons are already losing by seven, so the outcome is already determined. We walk back to the car and head home. Eva has now experienced her first of what hopes to be many ballgames. Let’s hope creepy guy isn’t there next time.


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