Friday, April 28, 2006 | Parentally Incorrect
I took my daughter to her first professional baseball game this past weekend and not only did the Padres win the game but this Padre scored some points as well.
All winter long, I’ve been telling Alex that I was going to take her to a baseball game in the spring and that we’d take the trolley. So, at various intervals, she’s been saying, “When I get bigger, I’m going to the baseball game with my Daddy on the trolley.”
I’ve even been training her slowly on the finer points of being mindless. For instance, she knows how to say, “Go Padres!”
Finally, my words came back to haunt me and I decided it was time for her to actually go to the Padres with her old man and experience the situation – just like I did with my dad.
Well, a little different. You see, I learned, from the times that I went to see the Padres with my dad at San Diego Stadium, that if she was going to enjoy the experience, we weren’t going to be watching the game very much.
It was all about atmosphere. Wear a Padres shirt. Root for the home team. Have a hot dog and sundae in a mini Padres helmet and play in the sand in the bleachers section. I figured if I was lucky, I’d be able to keep track of the game between the bonding.
The day of the game, we got up early and Alex was excited to put on her pink Padres shirt purchased especially for the occasion. My wife dropped us off at the trolley station with tons of tissue for Alex’s runny nose.
Wouldn’t you know, the trolley arrived just as we were buying a ticket and promptly left the station just as we got to the door so we had to wait a few minutes. It was a good lesson in patience for me because I had to chase after her to make sure she wasn’t standing on the rails.
The trolley arrived and we got on and Alex enjoyed looking at everything. When we passed a cemetery, she remarked, “That’s where fairy tales take place.” I usually try to use moments like that for education but decided it might just confuse her if I explained, “No, that’s where dead people are buried.”
When we got off the trolley station near the ballpark, I told her that the name of it was “Petco Park” and she just laughed and laughed. “That’s a funny name,” she said.
I ended up buying $14 seats near the scoreboard and while it was a bit rich for my blood (remember: I had no illusions about watching the game), I reminded myself that it was all about atmosphere.
Unfortunately for parents like me, kids can’t actually go to the bleachers’ sandbox unless they have a ticket to that area. Since I had pumped my daughter’s hopes and dreams on playing in the sand, I knew I either had to explain that we wouldn’t be going to the sandbox today or break the rules and sneak into the area.
So I broke the rules and snuck into the bleachers past two security guards having a conversation.
We played there for a while and Alex used her brand new baseball freebie – a batting helmet – as a bucket. A couple of kids played near her but one little boy kept throwing sand on her so she wanted to leave.
Although we ran around the bases at the Park at the Park, Alex was more interested in rolling down the hill, a new activity that I recently taught her. Between rolls, I tried to peek at the game on the big screen TV but it was all screwed up and only showed half the picture.
At one point, Alex was giggling and laughing and I was distracted because Josh Barfield hit a home run I couldn’t see. So I took her to our seat, but first buying her an ice cream sundae to keep her busy.
It was very cute. She kept telling the people next to us that it was her first baseball game and then said, “Go Padres!” Even the Mets fan next to me didn’t mind.
But when she was done with the sundae, she was done with the game. “I want to go to Grandma’s house and eat a strawberry. She has a big strawberry waiting for me and I want it now.”
Well, I agreed because I figured letting her complain would just make it harder for the other fans but first, I took her to the playground in the back of the Park.
She enjoyed playing with the other kids and that made me happy. I heard a loud roar from the crowd and that made me sad because I was missing a great game. However, eventually, she said she wanted to go home so we took the trolley home and were back by the beginning of the sixth inning.
Still, I think my plan to indoctrinate Alex slowly worked – to a point.
She tells me, “When I’m older, I want to go to the baseball game again.”
“Oh, when will you be old enough?”
“When I’m six.”
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who has never used steroids before writing this column. He can be reached at