While I was tucking Elijah into bed last week, I whispered to him, “How would you like to go to a baseball game with me this weekend?”
Eli responded, “Can I get one of those fingers that says you’re number 1?”
Of course he could.
Through one of my well connected co workers (shout out to Adina Birnbaum!), Elijah’s first baseball game was right down the first base line at iconic Wrigley Field. Now, a few of you may be thinking, “Hey. Isn’t Rick a White Sox fan? And isn’t he technically the creative director of the White Sox? Shouldn’t Eli’s first baseball game be on the South Side?”
To which I say, “Shut. Up.”
After an uneventful L ride, we strolled into home of such iconic baseball greats as That One Guy Who Played For The Cubs. And That Guy Who Won The Game. And Steve Bartman.
We immediately purchased a foam finger, grabbed a hot dog and a beer and found our seats. A nice fat couple took our picture and I began to well up. This was it. This was one of those dad moments. First baseball game. I was acting like a real, live dad.
Eli stood with his hand over his heart for the National Anthem and we both shouted, “Play Ball!” He crawled into my lap and I tried to explain what was happening on the field.
He made it through almost 1/3 of half an inning before becoming utterly and irreversibly bored.
We went to the men’s room four times before the third inning because, well, urinal troughs are way more interesting than hearing your dad say, “Well, yes, a ball is the same thing as a ball but it’s the hitters count kind of ball and not the white spherical things they throw…”
I had it in my head that we would stay until the 7th inning stretch. Eli had other ideas. He squirmed and begged to leave and splashed water and lemonade on the infinitely patient man the row ahead of us.
The peanut vendor happened by and I got an idea. Stuffing his face would keep him occupied, right? Right? We went into a feast of shelled nuts and nachos and hot dogs and at one point, a salt lick.
For some reason, I drew the line at a popsicle. Partly because it didn’t fit into my concept of only eating things with nitrates. But mostly because I was broke.
Eli began to weep uncontrollably at this injustice. He threw his face into my lap and heaved. I explained to my seatmates that he was a huge Diamondbacks fan and was distraught over the score.
At one point during his fit, a line drive foul ball streaked directly over Eli’s head and into the aisle right behind us. He refused to acknowledge its existence so long as there were uneaten popsicles in the world.
The 7th inning came and I said, “We can go right after they sing ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame.'” Eli happily stood and put his hand over his heart.
We jumped back on the L as the sky opened up and rained on the idiots still in their seats. When we arrived back in Evanston, it was still pouring so we went to the pet store and Eli got to see the giant tortoise.
Which was the highlight of his day.