Teaching the kids to love baseball too

Bobby Curran
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Friday - February 16, 2007
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One of the great parenting pleasures has to be introducing my boys to the wonders of baseball. There’s something lyrical about the pace of the game, a rhythm that allows for lots of conversation. With Max at 3 and Finn at 21 months, it mostly takes the form of questions and answers.

“Daddy, why is the man throwing himself on the ground,” queries Max.

“He’s sliding, trying to touch the base before the man in the gray uniform can tag him with the ball.”

OK, that’s pretty basic, and that’s from the older guy. From the little one, it’s “Hit, Daddy, hit,” accompanied by lots of finger pointing.

One thing’s for sure - the hot dogs and ice cream are a huge hit. Max has learned to reason his way to the snacks. Sample at a Sunday game: “It’s really hot, Dad (pause). I bet if I had ice cream it would cool me down.”

While the game on the field is as of yet poor competition for the concession stand, we’re making progress. Max now insists on bringing his glove to the game, having figured out that foul balls are kept by those who catch them. Now he doesn’t want to sit behind the screen, worrisome because his ambition exceeds his ability. Both of the boys like to chant “Let’s go Bows!” In fact, they start that in the car on the way to the game. Both join in with the crowd when applause is appropriate, though they have no idea why.

There’s something about having them with me at the ballpark, like being part of something larger than yourself. I was brought to the games in similar fashion when I was young. I couldn’t tell you when I first learned the rudiments of a double play or when it’s a good time to hit and run, or even what constitutes a balk (I’m still not altogether sure on that one!), but I can remember being taken to games by my Dad who answered endless questions. Somehow, gradually I learned to not only understand the rules, but to enjoy the grace of an outfielder tracking a drive, the precision of a well-turned infield play, or the majesty of a home run.

I always wanted to play catch when we got home, and already the boys are all over that, including the tee ball stand that I never had. And I remember the feeling of going to my dad on a weekend day and asking can we go to a game? I’m loving the feeling of looking at those expectant little faces and saying, “Guys, let’s get in the car. Anybody have to go, tell me now ‘cause we’re not stopping.Yes, bring your mitt. I’ve got the jackets. Leave the bat at home.And yeah, see if Mom wants to come.”

It’s even better than I remember it.

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