How to Grow a Baseball Fan

The other day I asked some friends without kids to confess what annoys them most about parents. I promised not to be angry or hurt, and I think I managed it pretty well.

The fact is, I agreed with a lot of them. When kids are out and about, parents don’t always make their best effort to police the small ones’ behavior … and it makes the rest of us look bad. It can make it hard to go out and do the things we big people enjoy when there are small people in our lives. Folks see a mom and her kid coming, and they run.

And so last week when the New York Mets emailed me with an offer to come see how they’ve tried to turn Major League Baseball into something parents can do WITH the kids, I decided I’d hear them out.

Dirty secret: I am a New York Yankees fan. But I was a New York Mets fan first.

If it seems impossible, hear me out. My favorite player of all time is Mookie Wilson. In truth, it was probably his name that attracted me first. I was a little girl when he took the Amazin’s to their ’86 World Series win, and “Mookie” rolled right off my toddler tongue.

The Mets were my introduction to what has become a life-long love of baseball. And here they were telling me that they could do the same for my daughter.

I bit.

We loaded up the car Sunday morning for the two-hour trek to Queens for some VIP treatment.
What we found at CitiField was nothing like the Shea I last visited before my daughter was born or any other baseball stadium I’ve been in for that matter.

It was a place where kids weren’t just accepted but celebrated. They have a dunking booth, batting cages, XBOX STATIONS, and they’re open to every kid (and overgrown kid), no extra special ticket needed, no plunking down a whole lotta dough to get in.

This is their way of giving families an outlet when their kids are starting to get antsy, a place to go so your kid isn’t that brat in the next row making all the childfree baseball fans throw daggers at Mom and Dad with their eyes.

It’s a way of giving parents their cake and letting us eat it too.

We can go out and have a good time, indulge in our love of the sport, and keep our kids happy too.

We can show the kids that baseball is a game in every sense of the word, a chance to have fun … for everyone.

That’s worth two hours in a car on a Sunday morning, don’t you think?

How are YOU growing a baseball fan?

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Disclaimer: The New York Mets covered my expenses to attend Sunday’s game against the Miami Marlins. I was not otherwise compensated, and all opinions expressed are my own. And I REALLY mean not otherwise compensated … idiot me LOST the dining card they gave each family. Have no idea what happened to it. OUCH!

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