The first real, ticketed sports event is a big milestone for any Varsity Dad. A few Saturdays ago, the family braved a spotty NYC subway system to head out to Coney Island for a Cyclones game.
Coney Island alone is a pretty wacky place -- the stadium is almost an afterthought; compare that to going to Yankee Stadium or Shea, where everyone on the train with you is going to the game.
It was a 6 p.m. start. On its face, that would be problematic, given an 8 p.m. (at latest) bedtime for the kid. But I figured that we would only stay 3 innings anyway and get home by 8-ish.
Thought about an obligatory trip to the famous Totonno's on Neptune, but the train took us 90 minutes and we were a little late.
Considered scalping -- I have had good success at Cyclones games simply being handed free tickets outside the stadium. We got an offer for two freebies in the bleachers -- eh.
Went to the window, looking for seats behind the screen -- I am a nervous parent, generally, and I figured that would be nominally safer from being pelted with a foul ball.
Turns out that there were 2 seats available behind the screen. $16 each. ("How old is he?" "2." "Oh, he can enter free." I love minor-league baseball. Try that at a Mets game -- or Dan Zanes concert.)
Walk in the stadium at around 5:45, first stop: Cyclones store. I am obviously a complete sucker for the kid purchases -- I didn't think twice. They could have been twice the price -- what price "first baseball game paraphernalia?"
Cyclones T-shirt: $20 (yikes... for a toddler? I take it back about the price insensitivity) Cyclones hat: $12 (that's more like it...and he LOVES the hat).
The cliched "priceless" part came next: After grabbing hot dogs (me, V.M.) and Nathan's french fries (V.K.), we were on our way to our seats.
Dead-center behind home plate, the section only went 25 or 30 rows anyway (love minor-league baseball). But we kept walking down, down, down. Row A, Seats 1 and 2.
On the aisle, directly behind home plate, nothing in front of us but a flimsy screen, then about 10 yards of grass before the ump/catcher/batter combo. Oh, and no one in our row, so kid gets his own seat, between his mom and dad.
They were, without question, the finest seats I have ever had at a sporting event. Gabe will never, ever have better seats in his lifetime -- not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing, given that it was his first try. I think he now thinks this is how all sporting-event seats should be.
Couldn't really appreciate the seats as a fan: Between helping Gabe with his food, swiping his fingers out of the netting, helping him track the location of Sandy the Seagull (the Cyclones' mascot) and playing with the 2-year-old directly behind us, also at his first game -- there was little attention paid... not that I expected much.
As it happens, it was a wonderful night, hot but with an amazing breeze coming off the ocean nearby. We stayed for 3 innings. Again: Gabe was limited in his attention span, and it was a good hour of a trek home.
Before we left, I brought him over to Sandy the Seagull to say hi and maybe get a picture. Much like Randy in "A Christmas Story" when he approached Santa Claus, the mascot from a distance was much friendlier than the 6-foot-5 bird up close. Gabe sort of freaked. We left.
(But not before I took a turn at the throw-a-baseball-with-a-radar-gun set-up. I was sub-40 to start, slightly over 40 on Pitch 2 -- sensing an unnatural tweak in my shoulder, for my troubles -- then let Gabe throw Pitch 3. Or "throw," as it was. The guy gave Gabe the prize anyway, a soft Cyclones baseball -- perfect to go with our stadium giveaway for that night, a baseball with Billy Joel's face on it.)
All in all, I couldn't have asked for a better first experience. (What? You mean it shouldn't be about me?) It was so fun that we went back two weeks later -- this past Sunday -- with Gabe's grandparents, only to have the rain pour down. We didn't even bother entering the stadium; the Cyclones lost to the Staten Island Yankees anyway.)
For this first trip though, I couldn't have cared less who won or lost. It wasn't about that, at all.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Earnestly funny post about rules for Saturdays in the fall by a NC State-loving mom. Have to see what the Florida-loving Mom in my own house thinks of these. At a minimum, I know we have all sorts of additional DVR-related stuff in there. One benefit of the 2-year-old is that nap times on Saturdays work nicely with noon kickoffs... but complicates things in the 4th quarter. Those 3:30 SEC-on-CBS start-times are a lot more challenging. (h/t: Orson at EDSBS)
Posted by Dan Shanoff at 2:03 PM