Sunday, July 15, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

A warm summer evening at the ballpark

Ronan has been showing quite a bit of interest in sports; as Mom loves baseball she planned an evening at the ballpark for the family. Rather than the expensive outing to San Francisco she found tickets to the San Jose Giants, the San Francisco Giants Division A farm team. It was still a bit of a drive (thankfully no traffic) but the game started at 5:00pm (as opposed to 7:00pm) and being division A ball the atmosphere was welcoming and casual.

Hey, it's baseball - the long pauses in action on the field means fans have to think up things to keep themselves entertained

The experience did not disappoint - Ronan loved the vocal-but-not-too-loud crowd, the goofy gorilla mascot, and the kitschy activities put on for the fans that filled the time between the innings.

Nieve heckled the third baseman who's error costs the Giants a run

Nieve had a different take - until the sixth inning she refused to take a seat in the stands. The mix of interrupted sleep, roaring crowd, and bright sun sent her to tears. Mom, Auntie She and I took turns hanging out with her in the concession area, away from the intimidating and uncomfortable stands.

Mom and Nieve talk about why the baserunner go no matter what when the count is 3-2 with two outs

Both kids agreed that ballpark food was scrumptious with Ronan proving his point by eating an extra-large hot dog, half a pizza, chips/snacks, and half of a cherry slushy. Nieve was particularly fond of the slushy; in fact it was that sweet icy drink that turned her spirits around and made her enjoy being in the stands.

Ronan was pleased with his cherry slushee tongue

While the quality of the game wasn't on par with the big leagues (I've never seen so many pitches hit the ground several feet in front of the plate) the environment was clearly structured to keep local crowds happy. Decent food options, picnic tables to sit at, and friendly hosts made the environment welcoming.

More rules explained - unlike cricket, the pitcher is not supposed to bounce the ball off of the ground prior to it reaching home plate

The park caters to children as well - Ronan and Nieve spent three full innings enjoying the fair-inspired game center with activities like bouncy houses, batting cages, and skee ball. It was fun to see children trying out their arm or testing their swing for a chance to win prizes. Ronan showed some promise in batting - he connected 2/3 of the time on pitches thrown by the staff manning the cages.

Not even Ronan's rally-cap could help the SJ Giants - the Visalia Rawhide won 8-3

After the game was over children were invited to run the bases (start at first, round second, leave the field at third); both Ronan and Nieve jumped at the chance. From first to second base Ronan thought he had to stay in the order they entered the field, meaning he jogged politely behind the children in front of him but clearly anxious to pick up speed.

Ronan ready to step out onto the field

When Ronan rounded second he realized he could run as fass as he wanted to and he picked up the pace. The entire time his face was one huge grin, clearly visible from the stands. He *delighted* in it - it's possible he'll spend a disproportionate amount of his time on playing fields as he grows older.

Ronan flashing some impressive speed between second and third - I'd say he showed more hustle than half the ball players that were actually competing

Nieve liked running the bases as well, but her turn was more a measured trot (holding Mom's hand) with a stop at second to debate Mom about removing her sandals. Mom won out (the sandals stayed on) and Nieve happily tagged third on her way off of the field.

Nieve tagging third - Mom forgot to explain that just a foot will do

It was an outing that the kids (and Mom and Auntie She) thoroughly enjoyed - I'm sure that won't be the last SJ Giants game we attend.

1 comment:

Holly Teetzel said...

Sounds like more fun than the REAL SF Giants' games - for kids at least. I guess the team managers know that if they can't draw crowds with the baseball "talent", they can bring 'em in with kid friendly games, food, etc. I bet even Nieve will enjoy going back again :-) Oh, and when I first saw that shot of Ronan in the Mitt Mask I thought he was playing Phantom of the Opera!