August 11, 2014

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

A windy day for a ball game

You may have noticed that the blog has been relatively quiet this summer.

There's been a lot going on for the SuperMommy family. A week and a half in Minnesota, a few trips to Michigan, me- traveling solo not once but twice in the course of a single season.

But so far, one of my favorite of our many chaotic excursions has been our trip to Target Field in the twin cities.

M is from north of the twin cities, and he's a big fan of the Twins. Which normally I don't make fun of him for, being a Pirates fan, but the last couple years have been nice. The kids love going to baseball games, but this was the first time we've been to one where the kids really paid attention.

DD sat next to me the whole game, double and triple checking which team were the good guys (that would be the Twins, in white), and which team were the bad guys (that would be the White Sox, in grey. You can see how confusing this is for a four year old.).

It was a really exciting game. The Twins held onto a lead for the first couple innings, then the Sox tied it. And then it was just time to bite our fingernails and root root root for the home team until they had a killer inning and tripled the score.

So I did what any self respecting baseball fan would do when they have their four year old daughter trapped in the glow of a tight ball game. I taught her to heckle.

"Swing, batter batter batter!" she shouted. The little old ladies two rows up from us turned around, grinning.

"Hey, batter batter batter! SWING! Batter batter batter!"

Aunt Engineer joined in the fun. "Hey DD- say, 'We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher!'"
"We want a... what is it again?"

And two innings later, "WE WANT A PITCHER! NOT A BELLY ITCHER!"

RH got in on the heckling, too. "Hey, badoo badoo badoo! SING BADOO BADOO BADOO!"

RH in sparkly shoes and Batman pants, ready to rock the ball game
But maybe my favorite bit of heckling the kids enjoyed was when DD and SI screamed together at Paul Konerko- "Hey Paulie! Go back to Bronzeville!"

Sad though I am to say, the Twins have taken the spot of "favorite team" in the girls hearts, stolen right away from my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates.

I harbor no ill will. Sharing in the jubilation and misery of their father's team is something I never experienced. Poppa kindly shielded me from becoming a Mets fan, and I will forever be grateful. Instead, I formed a lifelong abusive relationship with the team from my first home town, where my father took me once in a while to attempt to reconcile that the Pirates were actually the good guys, when they were... well... pirates. Even after we moved to New Jersey and the Mets were so much closer, even when we moved to Detroit during Cecil Fielder's prime... my love lay with the Pirates.

And that's kind of what baseball is about. Blind faith. Unfathomable and illogical loyalty to a team who plays whether or not you're watching, who trades you favorite players and falls apart at the end of August.

It's about falling in love with being in the ball park, and reveling in the insanity caused by a stomach full of ice cream and pretzels, and the smell of spilled warm beer.

I remember vividly when I was about their age, my father's best friend taught me to heckle the players. Somebody on the away team had been caught corking their bat earlier in the season, and under Alan's careful tutelage I leaned over the rail at the old Tiger's Stadium and screamed, "PUT A CORK IN IT!!!"

I had no idea what I was saying. And yes, I recognize that in general, being the loud, screaming, oblivious fan in the stands is not something you want to do. But there is something magical about the belief that if you scream loud enough, and clap hard enough, and heckle thoroughly, you can actually help your team win. You can be part of the victory, or the defeat.

It's addictive. And glorious.

We're taking the kids to another White Sox game this month. I know, we live on Chicago's south side, and they should be our team... but M is a Twins fan, and being a Pirate's fan makes me entirely sympathetic to the Cubs, so if we must pick a Chicago team, it's going to be Wrigleyville any day of the week. But there's never a bad reason to go to a baseball game, and teaching the kids to heckle with delight is as good a reason as any.

Slowly but surely, they're learning the rule. Maybe next year I'll teach them to scream obscenities at the ump.

Okay, maybe I'll save that for when they're in high school. Or college.

M and the twins watching the Twins win
For now, I'm happy to keep taking them out to the ball game, buying them peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and root root rooting for the home team.

So long as it's not the White Sox.

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