Sunday, August 19, 2012

Out to the Ball Game

Today was Abby and Michael's first trip out to the ball park.  We all met up with Mima, Granda, Mei Mei, and Lisa at Nationals Park in DC to watch the Washington Nationals play the New York Mets.  When my father first proposed the idea to Tom a couple of weeks ago, he initially turned it down.  But, reluctant as I usually am to expend energy actually "doing things," I felt that it would be a good outing for us to participate in, especially since Tom and I hadn't been to a baseball game together since before we were married. That particular game was also the Nationals vs. the Mets- fitting that it should be the first for our kids, right?  And, since the Mets are Tom's favorite baseball team, I thought it would be a shame for him to miss an opportunity to see them play so close to home.

I wasn't feeling so confident about my decision after a late night last night, and a whole score of sleep interruptions from both of my little darlings.  And there was still the matter of obtaining small, lightweight umbrella strollers that Tom had to run out in the morning to purchase.  Outside of that errand, Tom and I were both in a state of slow-motion until around 11:30, when Michael woke up from his first nap, and we had no more excuses to delay.  All necessities were gathered on our way out the door, and the sailing was smooth until we were less than a mile from the park.  Rain began to fall, first lightly, then much more heavily, and as Tom tried to navigate the streets of DC to find a place to park, we both began to doubt whether we should follow through after all.  I had brought warm clothing for the kids, but we didn't have umbrellas or ponchos, and we weren't sure if we were really up for spending potentially hours, shivering and miserable, in the rain, with two young babies.

There was also the question of whether the game would be outright cancelled.

As the heavy rain continued, Tom became more uncomfortable with our plans.  I was tempted to side with him, for while I get my share of enjoyment out of live baseball games, not being a true sports fan, I don't think the experience is worth some significant amount of physical discomfort.  But as I considered the option to turn back around, I quickly shoved it aside.  After all, we had come so far already, and I really wanted both the kids and my family to have some kid of special experience, even if it wasn't the one we had initially envisioned.

My persistence and optimism were well-rewarded.  We found some $20 parking about two blocks from the park (more than we had intended to pay but worth it for the proximity since we were ill-prepared for the rain that was still falling), and had exactly enough cash to pay for it.  Before we unloaded the kids from the car, we suited them up in long pants, jackets, and hats.  I realized with glee that the sports suit I had packed for Michael was adorned with a Mets logo, since I was sure that Tom regretted not having the time to find a Mets shirt for himself in the midst of our harried departure.

A fellow passenger on the elevator that we took out of the parking garage remarked, "Boy, those Mets fans sure start young, don't they?"

Why yes, they do.  At least, in my husband's family.

The rain continued to fall lightly for some time, resulting in a two-and-a-half hour game start delay.  But we were able to spend the time waiting under the concession area overhang, and enjoyed overpriced food and priceless conversation.  While we managed to get Michael a short nap in via stroller-ride through the stands, Abby could not be convinced to shut her eyes.  She spent the majority of her time being passed from arm-to-arm, or being pushed around in the stroller (as her chauffeur fruitlessly willed her to sleep), since she was near-impossible to control while on her feet.

I think she had a pretty good time, though, for the most part.  Here she is, trying on Mei Mei's hat before the game, with Auntie Lisa.

At 4 pm, we finally headed to our seats.

A view of the field.

And an action shot, courtesy of Tom.

Once down in the stands, Michael took the whole thing very seriously.  He is, after all, the Littlest Mets Fan.

"Can't you guys let me watch the game in peace?'

Abby wasn't so sure what to make of it all.

She shortly decided that her brother was far more interesting.

And huggable.

"Sis?  I think we're good- okay?"

But Daddy took some time out to teach his little girl all about baseball.

Seems that it was worth her attention after all (for a time, anyway).  She certainly enjoyed clapping along with the crowd.  Of course, being mainly Nationals fans, they were applauding a home run for the home team.  Poor Daddy.

Apparently, the Mets have a tendency to play poorly on Nationals' soil.  The same scenario played out at the last game that we attended.

Abby didn't mind, though (I guess her Met-sense is still in development).  Since the long delay scared off many attendees, there were empty seats nearby for her to claim.

Lest you think us "one big happy Mets family," I should note that I was wearing a Nationals' t-shirt.  However, I claim no particular loyalty to either team.  I honestly didn't know whether to cheer enthusiastically for the Nationals along with the crowd, or sigh in solidarity with my poor husband as the Mets' chances to catch up with the Nationals' early lead continued to pass them by.

Because the game got off to such a late start, Tom and I elected to make our exit after the fifth inning.  As much fun as we were having, it was so worth it to avoid both the crowds and the traffic that we would have hit after the game ended.

The Mets managed to get a run in as we were making our way down various ramps to ground level.  However, I later learned that they ultimately only managed one more, and lost to the Nationals 5-2.

The kids lost out to consciousness within five minutes on the road home.

What must it be like, to sleep so soundly?

I'm sure that I won't find out tonight.

But maybe, tomorrow, I'll finally have a chance to go through all of the pictures I took yesterday.  Until then...