I took my two oldest children with me to a Dodger game last night. It was a great game. The Dodgers were playing against the Braves. They were down early in the game and stayed that way all the way until the end of the game. The children, my daughter, in particular, were cold and tired and anxious to leave, and I was inclined to leave somewhere during the eighth inning. However, I decided we'd stick it out because I wanted to send the message to the kids that it's important to finish what you start, and not to give up.
Little did I know what was about to transpire. Going into the 9th inning, the Dodgers were down 4 to 2. They manage to get three outs on the Braves and then began batting. It wasn't going badly, but no runs to home had occurred early on. As the inning progressed, the Dodgers found themselves with a runner on first and a runner on third. Manny Ramirez got up to bat and the Braves did everything they could to distract him. They took a time-out mid-batting, and delayed things as long as they could to distract him. It worked.
Then Andre Ethier came up to bat. Things weren't going so swimmingly for him, either, but then, suddenly, the loud crack of the bat against the ball slowly made its way to us as we watched the ball sail off over right field ... all the way to the bleachers! A home-run, three runs in, and the Dodgers won the game.
At this point, my lethargic daughter woke up enough to celebrate, and her adrenaline kicked in. They started screaming and yelling and raising their arms above their heads, and were amazed that the game could be over just like that. The audience in the stands were on their feet everywhere (those that didn't leave early) and the team all ran out onto the field and formed a jumping mass of players around home plate.
It was like something out of a movie, and I am so glad that we stayed until the end. We don't go to baseball games very often (read: once a year, tops), and I really hoped the kids would have a good experience.
I spent $5.50 on a bag of peanuts, and it was really funny watching them as they uncomfortably dropped their debris on the floor ("Dad, can we really just leave our garbage on the ground?"). Their guilt was evident in their hesitancy, and it wasn't until after somebody sitting next to us said that it's all right to just drop your garbage where you are that they loosened up a bit. Eventually, they settled into the habit of dropping peanut shells on the ground, but my daughter, unfortunately, developed the habit of flipping the crumbs off her lap onto the person sitting in front of her. I apologized often.
Later, I spent $3 on a bag of cotton candy because my daughter was starving. You'd think she'd learn to eat her dinner when it's time to eat ...
The highlight of the evening for me, though, was about halfway through somebody started the "wave." My daughter got so excited. She would track the wave as it progressed around the stands with an outstretched finger, giggling and laughing the whole time. Once, she yelled, "Look! Look! That is funny! They're going to get caught in the wave!" It was totally adorable.
As for my son, he was more mature in a public place than I have seen him in a long time. A few weeks ago, we had gone on a tour of Dodger stadium, so he took great delight in being the know-it-all and telling her sister what everything was around the stadium. The funny part was that he kept telling me everything, too, which was funny because I was on the same tour as him and probably learned more than he did. It was great just to be with them, though, and to have that experience. And even better that the Dodgers won!
The following images are some pictures from the earlier tour, which we took with my son's cub scout pack. We were able to go out on the field, which was really cool, but they wouldn't let us go on the grass. I thought that paranoia was funny, but I totally get it as I'm pretty uptight about my grass at home, too.
The day we went on the tour there was a yoga session going on down on the field.
A few years back, they renovated and put in new chairs. When they did, they restored the original colors, which were symbolic of life in Southern California. The yellow represents the ground we live on, the brownish color represents the sands at the beach, the blue-green represents the ocean, and the blue represents the blueness of the sky.
We saw the sign to the umpires room (can you figure out the joke there? ...)
The saw the press room, the private rooms, the "training" rooms, the first aid and security rooms, and even the organ that a little old lady plays live during each home game. The boys loved being down on the field, and especially being in the dugout.
It seemed like every time I took a picture, though, my son was making some goofy face. Here's the finest example:
What a crack-up. It was a great time.