Went to the baseball game this weekend. The Mets hosted the Washington Nationals at the sparkling new CitiField, so named because the good people at Citibank had too much money, and so decided to get rid of some on a baseball stadium. And thank goodness they did because CitiField is a much better name than H&HBagelField, which was the runner-up.
I attended the game with my brother, his son, my two kids, and my uncle who was visiting from Chicago, or as he calls it, Chicagoland. Everybody was excited to go to the game, and that excitement lasted all the way until the second out in the first inning when the whining began. My kids wanted hotdogs. Which was expected. I wanted a hotdog too, but I didn't need it within three minutes of sitting down. First I wanted to admire the green, green grass and the blue, blue sky. First I wanted to take in my surroundings, and see if there was any potential upskirt vantage points (there weren't). I did not want to immediately get into a long hotdog line. But I did. Because if there is anything worse than whining children, I don't know what it is, and I have long ago learned to give my children whatever they want because it keeps them quiet for three minutes at a time. Yet another reason why I am once again a finalist for Parenting Magazine's Father of the Year Award.
So we all got hotdogs, which were made by the famous folks at Nathan's. Delicious, as expected. Their crinkle cut french fries, while tasty, were a little on the mushy side, and the water we all shared was watery - just the way I like it. After the hotdogs, the kids were quiet for three minutes and then started asking for Cracker Jacks because the guy came around yelling "Cracker Jacks! Cracker Jacks! Who wants Cracker Jacks!" Had he not asked the question, my children might not have answered: "Me! Me! Me!" But he did ask, and they did answer. So I bought a bag of twenty-two dollar Cracker Jacks. (Not really. I don't know how much they were because I'm on TV, but to a regular person they were probably a lot.)
My son dug right in, but my daughter decided she didn't like Cracker Jacks, which triggered the first "I want to go home." This is the third inning. I explained her we couldn't go home yet because the game had just started and because we weren't fucking going home. She turned around and decided she wouldn't watch the game. Which was fine with me. Then she said she wanted cotton candy. I said no. I don't know why I said no, except that I think cotton candy is gross and because I had just bought so much crap I didn't want to buy more. But apparently "no" was the wrong answer, because that started tears and tantrums and undoubtedly planted a seed of resentment that will eventually blossom into a tree of rage during her adolescence. Did I finally give in and get her the cotton candy? I did. Because I am trying really hard to win that Father of the Year Award.
So then they had cotton candy. When that was done, my son decided he'd had enough, too, and he wanted to leave. And his stomach hurt, which I could not understand. But we did not leave. My brother, nephew, and uncle seemed intent on staying, and we were not going to pussy out before they did. So we sat there and watched a few more innings of uninteresting baseball; the others went to walk around the new stadium. Did we want to join them? My children did not, even after being promised a chance to view the new Jackie Robinson rotunda. Now I am a huge Jackie Robinson fan, but his significance was somewhat lost on my eight and six year old. So instead, we just sat in our seats and I listened to them complain some more. Finally we also decided to walk around, which was fine.
We found my other family members, and together we checked out the kid's area, sponsored by EA Sports. They had a fancy t-ball set-up, a pitching machine and a Hershey Park sponsored dunk tank, which was notable for the fact that the tank was filled not with water but foam, which ruined the entire effect. Plus, the guy getting dunked didn't yell insults, but instead shouted words of encouragement like "Good try!" Good try? Who wants to dunk somebody who wants you to do your best? That runs counter to the whole dunk tank mentality. So that sucked.
Then we roamed up and down the stadium stairs because my daughter wanted to go as high as we could go, which turned out to be pretty high. We did that. Twice. Then we retired to our seats where the drunk guys in front of us recognized me, and I had to sign one of their college textbooks and the other guy's tits. Which would have been okay if he'd had a better rack, but he didn't. Finally after, the Nationals put away the listless Mets 8-1, we made our way out of the lovely CitiField and to our cars. The game was more than a bust, but less than a rousing success. My son told me he hates baseball and doesn't ever want to go to another baseball game, but at least he said this somewhat cheerfully. There was no malice in his voice; instead it was just a simple declarative statement: "I hate baseball and never want to go to another game." So much for my breeding another Sandy Koufax. My daughter also does not need to return, although she seemed less adamant about her decision.
As for me, I'm going back to CitiField tomorrow night, this time without the kids. Because unlike them, I love America.