It was time. Time for our oldest son, James, who is almost 4, to experience his first baseball game. We arranged for Dad to stay home that night with our younger son, Luke, so I could go with James and his grandparents, who are big fans of the Baysox.
The stadium was packed for the Family Night. Game time was 6:35 p.m., so we arrived around 5:30 p.m. We all received glow sticks upon entering the park, which James was very excited about. After grabbing some pizza, hot dogs and lemonade, we settled into our seats.
The game started and we had a great view, being a couple rows up from the Baysox dugout. I had brought James’s binoculars, which he used to check out the players in the outfield. The sun hadn’t quite dipped below the buildings yet, so after eating we went to explore until our seats were more shaded.
The Baysox stadium has a kids area where you can purchase tickets for a couple of little rides and games. Five dollars got a pack of six tickets, which was more than enough for James to go in the moonbounce, a carousel ride, a baseball throwing game and a batting game. They also had face painting available. It was a small area, but a fun way to kill some time in between innings.
We grabbed a bag of popcorn, because you know it’s all about the snacks, and headed back to our now-shaded seats. We enjoyed watching the game, with James and his grandpa yelling out typical baseball calls like two old men. In between innings, the two of them would rush down to try and convince a player in the dugout to toss them a ball, coming back empty handed but hopeful for “next time.”
At one point, a fly ball came sailing towards us. I covered James as the ball hit the side of his seat. A very enthusiastic youth almost knocked me down to snatch it up. James was fine with losing the ball though, as he now was convinced this is a very dangerous game and kept a wary eye on the sky. (You can tell I’m not a sports fan since I hadn’t even thought to bring a baseball mitt with us for catching fly balls.)
We were entertained by the funny sumo wrestler act at halftime, the Baysox mascot “Louie” dancing on the field, and getting to meet the Anne Arundel County Library’s Summer Reading Program mascot, a superhero cat James mistook for “Super Cat,” one of his favorite book characters from the Splat the Cat series.
We stopped by the Chesapeake Family table where kids were decorating paper crowns with stickers. James’s grandma bought him a giant “Go Team” foam finger from the Baysox gift shop. So far he was having a fantastic time, and I had worried he might be bored.
As the sun was going down, we wrapped up the game with a souvenir baseball cap ice cream sundae and cheered on the Baysox as they won against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 8 to 0. James especially enjoyed this part, as he stood up in his seat screaming and cheering along with the rest of the stadium, for once not being told to quiet down.
After the game ended, it was almost time for “lights out.” We put on our light stick necklaces and I discreetly pulled the child-sized headphones out of my bag. Once the lights went out I snuck them on James just as the fireworks show began. It was the first time he’d seen fireworks because they had been too loud and “scary” for him before.
His eyes lit up as he watched the spectacular show in the sky. He loved it! The finale was truly amazing, but not as amazing as the memories we’ll always have from our son’s first baseball game.
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.