Sunday, June 21, 2009

101 Essential Baseball Experiences For Fathers and their Progeny

For Father's Day:

101 Baseball-related things to do with your son (and daughter) before you die (with some help from @inuryexpert (Will Carroll), @Yankeeosh, @Leokitty, @Schwartzlaw via Twitter. Follow me: @rebecca_glass)

101: Slide the slide at Miller Park.
100: Sit in one of the kayaks in McCovey Cove, waiting for a home run ball.
99: Wait out a multi-hour rain delay, till there are so few in the park that your voice can get picked up by the TV broadcast.
98: Do something really, really stupid on the Diamondvision.
97: Watch your favorite team on the road, while they're visiting the most hated rival's hometown.
96. Take a multi-city road trip to watch baseball. Some examples: Boston->NY (x2) ->Philadelphia ->Baltimore ->DC; NY (x2) -> Philadelphia -> Pittsburgh -> Cincinnati --> Chicago (x2)-> Cleveland ; Arizona -> San Diego -> LA -> Anaheim -> San Francisco -> Oakland
95. Sample the regional ballpark flavor...
94. ...Or go with hot dogs, peanuts and cracker jacks.
93. Make a mix of your favorite players' AB music to play in the car on the way to the stadium/park/field.
92. Catch a foul ball with your bare hands.
91. Catch a foul ball with your beer.
90. Catch a foul ball and give it to the kid sitting next to you who is attending his/her first Major League game.
89. Go to a Major League game in a different country (okay, Toronto).
88. Go to any professional game in a different country.
87. Try explaining the rules of baseball to a cricket fan and see how far you get.
86. Come early enough not just to see BP but to be the very first fans let into the stadium/park/field.
85. Go to a minor league game in the cold and rain. Go sit out by the bullpen and just watch. Trust me.
84. Buy a program and try to keep score during a very much non-pitchers' duel.
83. Wear your teams' colors in enemy territory, on game day, in October, when both of you are playing.
82. Stay up, on the East Coast, for the entirety of a game on the West Coast.
81. Sneak down from the upper deck to seats oh-so-closer to the field (you'll have better luck in Pittsburgh than New York).
80. Spend a major summer holiday at a ballgame.
79. Be the last fans to leave the park.
78. Make the journey to see the Cape Cod League.
77. Go to Fanfest--it's cheaper (and maybe even more fun) than the All Star Game and the Home Run Derby.
76. Visit a ballpark in its last year before demolition...
75. ...And a new one in its first year.
74. Say hello to a beat writer (this one may take some advance planning).
73. Say hello to a blogger (this one will likely take a little less planning, and may not be considered an essential experience by most)
72. Score tickets to a luxury box, and while everyone else is dressed to the nine's, walk in wearing old jeans and an oversized team t-shirt.
71. Where possible, take public transportation to and from the game. Especially Boston and NY.
70. Go to a game on a whim, with no advance planning. Buy tickets on Stubhub or some other source that day and ust hightail it to the park.
69. Listen to a game at home, on the radio, while having a catch with your kid/father/brother/sister/other family member.
68. Take a drive past where Ebbets Field/The Polo Grounds/Tiger Stadium/The Vet/The Kingdome, etc, used to be and see how much you can remember, or pretend to remember.
67. Help restore a Little League field...
66. ...Or otherwise sponsor/coach/help out a Little League team.
65. Take an umpiring class, or two. For the hell of it.
64. Fill out an all star ballot with your father/son/daughter/mother, together, and then another seperatley and compare.
63. Skip going to a game in favor of playing one, instead.
62. Eat Ice Cream together in the upper deck. In August. In Texas/Atlanta/Baltimore/DC...even NY.
61. Make the long drive up to Cooperstown in the dead of winter and visit the Hall and especially the Museum.
60. Visit Monument Park at Yankee Stadium (but maybe after they move it)
59. Watch the Mets and Yankees, or Cubs and White Sox, or Giants and A's in the same day.
58. Take a Stadium Tour (Most stadiums have this option)
57. If the schedule allows it, go to a football game on a Sunday in September and a baseball night game (or the other way around).
56. Try to get through Field of Dreams without crying.
55. Watch A League of Their Own with your daughter (ok, and son, too).
54. Teach your kid how to properly break in a mitt/glove, how to work a scuff and how to properly chew sunflower seeds.
53. Take a cross country drive, listening to all of the local games on the radio, minor or major league.
52. Write a letter to your favorite player.
51. Write a letter to a rookie or another underrated player. Don't ask for an autograph. See if he responds.
50. Start a baseball card collection.
49. Spend way too much money on a Jeter/Pujols/Ichiro/Whomever rookie card.
48. Walk around a memorabilia store for the pure and utter heck of it.
47. Create an album, online or real, of pictures, ticket stubs, and scorecards of games you've been to.
46. Try, just try, to get tickets to a Cubs game in October. If you succeed, try (just try), to cheer them on to the Fall Classic.
45. Read The Natural.
44. Buy the highlight video from the last season your team won the World Series (sorry Cubs fans...)
43. Buy an overpriced soemthing at the team store. Preferably a jersey.
42. Teach your kid about Jackie Robinson. And Larry Doby. And Roberto Clemente. And everything that meant.
41. While we're on the topic, visit the Negro League Museum in Kansas City.
40. Get into a heated argument about the merits of the DH.
39. Buy the Baseball America Prospect Guide, pick one, and follow his development throughout the season.
38. Buy tickets from a sketchy scalper in the parking garage before the game.
37. Watch the Cyclones take on the Staten Island Yankees.
36. Visit Babe Ruth's house/museum in Baltimore and then watch the Orioles at Camden Yards.
35. Send a "Get Well Soon" card to a player with a season-ending injury.
34. Donate a body part so you can sit behind home plate.
33. Or go to a minor league game for a team not well attended and pay all of $10 for seats behind the plate.
32. Watch the Batting Stances guy on Youtube. Try to outdo him.
31. Get your eye socket broken by an errant throw (@crotch_jenkins to thank for this one...)
30. Visit Williamsport, PA.
29. Visit Omaha in June.
28. Play snow baseball.
27. Put your kid's name up on Daimondvision for his/her birthday.
26. Watch the Little League World Series with your kid. Especially if your kid's lucky enough to play in it.
25. Keep a blog, even if just for yourself, about your team for one season.
24. Tweet with baseball players (like @dougiebaseball) (Again this one might not be essential, but it's awesome).
23. Build a baseball library in your home.
22. Go and support your high school/college team just for kicks.
21. Get tickets to both games of a double header. Stay for the whole thing.
20. Try the fastpitch machine at the ballpark. I throw about 30 MPH. What about you?
19. Play the Show on PS3/XboX/whatever. And then play Griffey on N64. Because that game was just that awesome.
18. Be in the stands for a no hitter.
17. Stay for a game that goes to the fifteenth inning.
16. Get a baseball card signed by that player.
15. Check out the pool in Arizona (is it still there?)
14. And pet the Rays in Tampa.
13. Get a hotel room in Toronto with a view of the field.
12. Search for Jane Austen's reference to "base ball" in Northanger Abbey.
11. Debate on what the best name in baseball is--Buddy Bell? Skip Schumacker (sp)?
10. Take Spanish and Japanese lessons so you can understand (some) of what the players are saying.
9. Watch a game in a different language, just because you can.
8. Teach kids that baseball players are human--they can err and redeem themselves just the same.
7. Buy tickets to Game 7 of the World Series, wherever it is. You never know.
6. Glory in the knowledge that it ain't over til it's over.
5. Sit in the Monster seats at Fenway.
4....And in the right field bleachers at Yankee Stadium
3....And in the rooftop seats overlooking Wrigley
2. Skip school (and work) to go to Opening Day.
1. Play catch when it's too dark to safely do so.