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Friday, June 16, 2006 | My 11-week-old son Owen attended his first baseball game this past weekend – and it was a blow out in more ways than one.

A little back story: In the last two weeks, I’ve been going to see the San Diego SurfDawgs play at Tony Gwynn Stadium at San Diego State.

I’m still a Padres fan but I like minor league ball because it’s cheaper and there’s a certain small-town vibe that I find appealing. I mean, there’s actually some quiet between at-bats (and the way the Dawgs have been playing lately, during the at-bats as well).

I took Alex to opening night and I think she liked it more than the Padres game we attended, mainly because they have an inflatable slide with unlimited rides for $2.

Still, that first game was a little traumatic for her because of the SurfDawgs promotion with King Stahlman Bail Bonds, which is the official bail bond of the SurfDawgs (wonder how often they have to use him?)

At some point early in the game, Southpaw, the SurfDawgs mascot, engages in some criminal behavior, either stealing balls and bats or actually trying to abscond with first base. Inevitably, he gets caught and is carried off by the grounds crew to “doggie jail” until the next inning when a fan “frees” him by answering a trivia question.

Alex was so freaked out at the thought of a loveable mascot being tossed in the clink that she talked about it for three nights afterwards. When I explained it was just a promo and Southpaw wasn’t really in jail, she asked me, “What’s a promo?”

Luckily, Alex now understands that Southpaw is okay and that there really isn’t a “doggie jail.” So she’s been lobbying her mom to go to a SurfDawgs game so she can free Southpaw the next time he misbehaves.

So it’s Saturday night and we’ve finally convinced her to go by telling her how it reminded me of an idyllic small town fair we once attended at East Troy, Wisconsin.

Plus, I added, “It’s great people-watching.”

Since it’s a short jaunt to SDSU from our condo, we don’t have the hassle of getting there that we would at Petco or even Qualcomm Stadium.

Once we get there, my wife is impressed by how many families with small children are there and how good of a view we get for our $7 tickets (kids under three are free). She’s not so impressed by the errors on the field and I’m not impressed with the bad calls the umpires give our beloved Dawgs.

Alex is impressed with the slide and wants to go on it again and again. Owen pretty much wants to sleep and has no interest in the intricacies of the game.

Neither does Alex. I do sit her down right near the third base line so she can see the game and try to teach her about baseball, which was America’s pastime before Nintendo.

“See, he just hit the ball and now that guy is catching the ball – oops, he just dropped it. Now he’s trying to throw it to first base before the other guy gets there.”

“Can I go on the slide again?”

“Wait until this inning ends.”

“Can I go on the slide again?”

“Wait a minute.”

“Can I go on the slide again?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

My wife is such a good sport and is enjoying the atmosphere so much that I offer to buy her some nachos. I decide that I’m such a great Dad that I reward myself with a beer that, at five bucks, is much cheaper than Petco.

That turns out to be a mistake. Alex sees it and says, “I want to try that.”

Mommy says, “No.”

I say, “No.”

Alex says, “Why?”

Mommy says, “Because that’s an adult drink.”

Daddy says, “We’re not in Europe.”

Alex says, “I want some.”

Mommy says, “No.”

Daddy says, “No. They won’t allow me on the slide so you can’t have the beer.”

Mommy says, “Yes, the slide is for kids. Beer is for adults.”

Alex isn’t happy about it but so what? I finish the beer and hold Owen for a little while. I try to explain the intricacies of the game but he seems more interested in his binkie. Considering the Long Beach Armada has pulled away with a 7-2 lead in only the third or fourth inning of play, can’t say that I blame him.

A few minutes later, Owen falls asleep – something even adults do when watching baseball – and we put him in the stroller so Alex, my wife and I can gorge ourselves on tri-tip sandwiches and burgers that even my foodie wife admits are great deals for the price – even the price of watching losing baseball.

Alex goes to town on the hamburger but, once finished, she has other things on her mind.

“Can I go on the slide again?”

“Wait until this inning ends.”

“Can I go on the slide again?”

“Wait a minute.”

“Can I go on the slide again?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

So I take Alex to the slide but now there is a huge line of older, rambunctious boys acting their age so I decide that she can ride the slide during a weeknight game, when it will be less crowded. I’m on my way to my seat when my wife meets me with Owen in the stroller.

“We need to leave.”

“Are you okay?”

“Oh, yeah, but you know how Owen hasn’t pooped in a week?”

“Uh, yeah,” I say, pretending I keep records of my child’s pooping habits.

“Well, he has – and it was a blowout!”

I look at him in his little onesie, which now has brown streaks up his back and around his sides. In fact, his midsection has what looks like two brown handprints on the side.

Wow, I think, eleven weeks old and he’s already an over-achiever.

David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who says the only tie he wants for Father’s Day is a mai-tai. He can be reached at moyemail@cox.net. Or, send a letter to the editor.

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