In my last post I shared a little of my love for the game of baseball.
Even as a twelve year old kid, I loved going to baseball games. It didn’t matter if it was a little league game, or a game at Anaheim Stadium. I loved going to the concession stand, ordering a calorie buster called a Chili Billy (basically chili covering a bed of Fritos), sitting down between the parents and catching a game. Of course they sell monstrosities like Chili Billies at little league games, because how many twelve year old boys are counting calories?
This past week my wife Carla and I attended a San Diego Padres game at Petco Park in San Diego. Although parts of the stadium seem more shopping mall than baseball stadium, Petco is a beautiful place to watch a baseball game. It’s truly a park, they even have a park over the right field wall, that is open to the public during non-game days.
Going to Petco for a dinner and a baseball game was our concession to sanity during our just concluded vacation. It was a much appreciated break made possible through the generosity of my inlaws who watched our kids for a few hours. For anyone who has taken a vacation with young children, you know that your vacation is really their vacation. It’s all about the kids. It’s about Emma wanting to show us the scab on her foot for the 100th time. It’s Johanna complaining about being bored, even on a day after she’s had a pool party and played with her cousins all day. It’s the girls fighting because someone did something. At a certain point, it doesn’t even matter what the “something” was. As parents of young children you sometimes desperately just need to get away. You need to have fun on your own. You need to spend time with just your wife and you. I totally believe going out together without the kids, in the long run, makes us better parents for our children. It’s decompression time. It’s together time. It’s going someplace where you can actually have a conversation, where one or both of you is not totally exhausted and half falling asleep.
For the longest time we didn’t allow ourselves these getaway moments. It seemed extravagant and frivolous, but somewhere along the line we realized how much we needed these little moments.
Thankfully, Carla is very understanding of her husband’s love for baseball. She has even learned to appreciate the game. As a couple enjoying our thirteenth year of marriage, we’ve worked out a mutual appreciation for one another’s hobbies and need for space. I give Carla the space to enjoy gardening and quilting and she gives me the space to do a blog (which can be time-consuming) and take in the occasional baseball game.
Having grown up in Southern California, I’ve learned to spot the tourists with their cameras and exaggerated expressions.
Walking through Petco, I was a total tourist.
How is it that I’m taking more pictures of Petco field than of our kids?” I asked Carla.
She just shook her head.
When we came to our seats in section 113 I was totally blown away. These were awesome seats right alongside the first base side of the field. If this was Fenway park, for the same price, we would be sitting in someone’s lap in the right field corner of the upper deck.
I hunkered down in my seat with my peanuts and soda, commenting on each part of the game to Carla. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the song, Take Me Out to the Ballgame mentions peanuts and cracker jacks, since when I’m at the ballpark, one of the things I most enjoy is the food. It’s nearly all bad for you, but it’s a part of the culture and the experience.
“Is that real meat in those hot dogs?”
Who knows? You choose to live in denial and pour some extra relish on your dog.
The ballpark is the one place in the world, where a guy can sit in a chair, eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. I feel like a total slob and I love it.
As it turned out, it was a memorable game. The visiting Cincinnati Reds had a 1-0 lead going into the seventh inning. In the seventh on a terrible call, Padres centerfielder Cameron Maybin appeared to beat out an infield single, only to have the umpire rule him out. It was an awful call and one of those things that make you wish for instant replay. With a man on second base at the time, it could have been the turning point.
“The Padres are going to lose the game and that play is going to cost them the game,” I told Carla.
Instead, we got to watch an unlikely comeback. In the bottom of the eighth inning Padre pinch hitter Logan Forsythe hit a home run into the Western Metal Siding building in left field to tie the game.
In the bottom of the ninth inning the Padres loaded the bases for light hitting Everth Cabrera. The Padres shortstop hit a single over the heads of the shallow playing outfield. It was walk off victory for the home team Padres. The game had everything including great pitching performances, bad calls from the umpires and clutch hitting. It was a great game.
This is an unusual post for me. There is no real deeper meaning here. Maybe by now, you’re saying to youself. . .
“It’s just baseball game for crying out loud! These are the Padres! They’re in last place! Who cares!”
Yeah, it’s just Carla and me taking the time to enjoy a baseball game. Maybe that’s the deeper meaning. . .
Sometimes you need to allow yourself to enjoy the moment. Take in a ballgame. Spend time in your garden. Sew a quilt. Take a long walk. Spend time together with the one you love. Give yourselves time to enjoy little things, so when you come back to your kids you can appreciate the big things.