Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Joe and I love baseball.  Like "going to Dodger Stadium while fully pregnant", "taking Jack to Grizzly games before he could hold his head up", kinda love baseball.

What is it about baseball that warms me so?  The warmth of a familiar glove?  The smell of fresh-cut grass?  The crack of the bat and 30,000 fans going wild?  The strategy?  All of it.

Although we lived far from a major league team in Oakhurst, we went to AAA games in Fresno almost weekly.  Jack had more foul and homerun balls by the time he was 5 months old than I had my whole life growing up.  But, then we moved.  No AAA ball around here.

We've been wanting to take the boys to a Dbacks game for awhile, but were waiting until they could enjoy it (ok, ok, we were waiting until WE could enjoy it!).  Good friends of ours gave us tickets to the Faith and Family Night.  We had such a good time; sort of.  It started out pretty rough.

We decided to take a bike taxi from the hotel, instead of walking in the 105 degree heat.  Only problem is, our driver crashed into a parked truck.  He hit pretty hard and Josh was flung from the bike.  That boy.  Only Josh can go crashing into the street and not have one single scratch on him.  Thank goodness.  Jack was completely unhurt.  I had an abrasion that went away fairly quickly.  Joe came really close to hitting his brand new kidney on the support bar.  Could you even imagine?  Thankfully, we don't have to imagine.  He is bruised, but ok.  Oh, and that truck?  Turns out, it was an undercover police truck.  The cops directing traffic witnessed the whole thing.  Not pretty.

Once we got to the park, though, it was magical.
The boys were perfectly happy to watch the balls go up and down in this "maze" for about an hour.

We got our seats and watched about 3 innings before they started to get restless.  I took them to the top deck to check out the playground.  Yes, I just said playground at a baseball stadium.  When I was growing up, the only "playground" was hanging on the railings.  This playground looked sweeeet.  But, it was also very crowded.  Right next door is the wiffle-ball batting field.  That line was really long too.  I didn't quite understand what was going on.  Before I knew it, this very official-looking baseball player started to take all the kids in line to a back door.  I followed, not knowing where my boys were going.  It was a batting cage.  And he is some big-shot pro player.  AND he was giving THEM batting lessons.  How cool is that?!  I didn't get any pics because I didn't think to take my camera.  I had no idea.

We went back to our seats, but the boys only lasted 2 innings this time.  Off to explore we went.

We found this huge piggy bank.  They are so goofy.

We found these video games just hanging out, begging to be played.

We got onto the private level that has all the suites.  That level is carpeted!  With couches spread around.  I am so old school where you have field level and nosebleed level.  They had restaurants at this ballpark.  Again, I'm used to having two choices for food.  Hot dog or Dodger dog.  They even had booster seats so the boys could see all the action on the field.

But, the best part was actually after the game.  Being Faith and Family Night, there was a concert proceeding the game.  And not just any concert, but Mercy Me.  Helloooooo!
It's amazing to be able to worship with thousands of others in a baseball stadium.  I am so grateful for our freedom.  The boys started out singing with us (we ARE the Rodriguez Rock Stars), but they quickly fell asleep in our arms.

Oh, and if the trip TO the park wasn't exciting enough, the trip back to the hotel was almost as exciting.  As we were walking out, an usher directed us to walk out a different door than we had come in.  I told him where we were headed and he said to just turn right after exiting.  Sounds simple, right?  Except that we walked into a parking lot, flanked on the right side by a train track, with a looooooooooooooooooooong freight train driving reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal slow at that point.  The further we walked, the scarier the neighborhood appeared.  We finally decided to just take 3 left turns, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal the way around the stadium.  When we eventually got back to the hotel (at midnight), Joe and I were pooped.  The boys?  Not so much.  They had their nap at the ballpark and wanted to play with their army tanks.

It's ironic.  I waited until the boys were old enough so Joe and I could enjoy the game.  Turns out, I had more fun watching the boys enjoy the park.  Thanks Eileen and Melissa!

where Glory meets my suffering