It’s baseball season.
Now, just two sleeps since the tradition of Opening Day (hosted Monday, April 4), all games matter. As a San Francisco Giants fan, our family observes our first home game as ‘Opening Day.’ We started on the road and while our games against the Brewers matter, any baseball fan knows, there’s nothing like seeing your team kick the season off at home.
This year we opted to take in a pre-season home game as a family. So last Friday night with our backpack of blankets, beanies and scarves in tow we headed to one of our favorites places on the planet … AT&T Park.
Truthfully, we were excited to see our boys back on the field. We were excited to take the kids to the Club level for a change (tickets are cheaper in pre-season) and we were excited to just be at the park on a Friday night with our Fan Family.
I had told Editor Marg Jackson prior to leaving, I’ll be writing my column Saturday morning. You know I’ll have plenty to say about the game. She concurred, as she giggled, noting we would have two sports-themed columns in this issue (we both like sports).
When Saturday morning rolled around, as my PIC (partner in crime) headed out to run errands, kids zombied out on the couch with ballpark food hangovers … I dutifully threw open my laptop ready to ‘do work.’ There was just one problem - I was on a happiness high. An elation which is hard to describe completely but can best be summed up as … I froze.
What words would I use to recapture what a few nights at a ballpark meant to my family? How could I accurately discuss my disappointment in families texting others as their kids sat next to them watching the game? Without feeling as if I were gloating how could I share the joy and love baseball brings our family? Maybe I just did.
The moments were fast, as Friday night’s game found the Giants take a quick win over the Oakland A’s in a 3-0 final score, but the magic was there. The beaming of my duo’s faces as we entered the Club area where they could have their photos taken with the Peanut Characters. My PIC, quick at the ready to snap all the photos and freeze as many moments as possible. They admired our World Series Rings and relived video of my daughter when she was just three years old, singing her love of Buster Posey as we took on the Texas Rangers in the World Series.
As they looked to the field, they quickly started admiring the work of the groundskeepers as they raked the field. The boys were coming and we were here to welcome them back.
Just as it was when I was a kid, once we were settled in, it was time to visit concessions. Yes, I know, the critics will say ballparks are overpriced and AT&T is no exception.
Fortunately we are a family who believes in collecting memories and not things. So if asked, do I believe a corn dog and garlic fries for $12.50 is worth it? I will reply (every time) with an emphatic YES! You see, I wasn’t looking at my phone, unless I was reviewing a photo taken of our family. I was looking at my kids, the people around us and the boys of summer as we reveled in our good fortune.
There’s just something about a few hours at ‘the yard’ which brings out the best in people. Strangers speaking as if we’ve known one another a lifetime, smiling, laughing, high fiving and yes, at times, yelling about a bum call … all with our kids right alongside.
I can count at least half a dozen times that someone looked at us and muttered the words, “That’s awesome!” Whether it was my daughter sneaking in a quick hug from Lou Seal, my son playing air guitar to “Lights” as Journey blared through the stadium or my PIC waving through the crowd with the kids and their LED lit gloves, humanity was at its finest.
It warms the heart to share moments like this with a family. To wake the next morning and hear your kids share the highlight of the night, “Being with my family.” There’s simply no price you can put on that.
So while I won’t list our evening expense line item by item, I will state this: Pre-season tickets + parking + concessions + SF Giants = Priceless. Huummmmm Baby … here we go!
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.