G66: My Daughter’s First Game!! – The Rangers win 7-4

We won the game. Pretty handily. Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano led the way with home runs. Tex has two, Sori had one, as did Matthews. In fact, all the runs in this game came via the long ball. The Nats 4 runs all came on long balls. Frank Robinson was honored before the game, which was nice. In fact, the guy who impressed me most in this game from the other side was Ryan Church. He really put on a show, going 3 for 4 with two home runs. He just looked good. Ricardo Rodriguez was really good (7IP, 3ER, 2K, 0BB), and (crossing fingers) he looks like he might be the answer, as our rotation now has some big holes in it with the departure of Ryan Drese & Pedro Astacio.
But none of that was what this night was about for me. This was the first game I attended with my daughter. A couple of weeks ago, my wife was trying to figure out what to do for Father’s Day, as it was my first one. Without boring you to death with the details, Father’s Day has never meant anything to me, as my dad split when I was 12, so this day was a day when I pretty much “shut down”. Well, now that I have a daughter of my own, my views are likely to be different as I’m the recipient of Father’s Day, not the “giver”. Anyway, Lynn suggested we go to a Rangers game for Father’s Day, since I like baseball so much. This of course was a great idea to me, and I jumped on it. We were going to go on Sunday on the actual Father’s Day game, but a 1PM game at a projected 100 degrees is NOT a good idea for a nine week old, so we decided to go Saturday night. This posed a problem as Saturday night was almost sold out. The only tickets left when we got to the gate were in Section 344. That really doesn’t much bother me, I’m happy sitting anywhere in the park. Plus with my daughter being only nine weeks old, she won’t realize it. I’m sure it didn’t help my wife, since she really needs the scoreboard to be able to pay attention, and in the $5 cheap seats, you can’t see it (as you’re technically behind the thing). Still, it was Father’s Day weekend, and I was attending the first game with my kid. I also found out you don’t need to buy a ticket for a kid that is this young, but with the game being so packed, I bought two extra kids tickets (at $2 each) just so we could have some room for all the baby stuff we brought with us. :) I was just concerned with BEING THERE, where we sat was pretty much irrelevant.
As the game started, I was thinking about all the emotional things you hear about baseball, generations, family, and all that. I did tear up a bit at the start of the game when I realized I was Daddy. It was something I never had for myself, as my recollections tell me I never attended a baseball game with my own father until I was 23 (which was a Colorado Rockies game in Denver their inaugural year in Mile High Stadium, before Coors opened). So I was a bit teary eyed when the game started, as I full well intend on going to a boatload more games with my daughter. I also will be back on August 23rd with her to pass along a tradition I’ve had for years. That’s when I go to a Rangers game on my birthday, or if they’re not in town on my birthday, the closest calendar date game. I picked this up from my mom a long time ago when I was a kid, and is something that I carried on myself back home in Philly when she couldn’t go, and then when I moved to Texas. I was Dad. I was the person taking my wife and kid to a game. I realized at that time I had achieved something in life a lot of people look for, and don’t have – that’s a family to love, and a family that loves them. My wife and I are very perfectly matched, and the child we’ve had I think is a great mix of that. Granted, she’s only 9 weeks old, and we don’t know her personality yet, but being borne from Lynn and myself, she’ll turn out to be pretty good, I would expect. And she’ll love baseball, dammit! :)
We got there early enough so that we could visit the gift shop. Since it was Samantha’s first game, we had to get her a souvenir or two. We were sent some money from my mother so that we could get some stuff for Sam’s first game. As I’m a season ticket holder, I have a 15% discount card off of merchandise, so we made use of that. We got Samantha a really cute little outfit that she’ll fit into in a couple of months that will make her look like a baseball, I think. We also got her a Rangers pennant for her room, and we also managed to get the tickets for the money my mom sent down. All in all, we made out pretty well with stretching money. After the gift shop run, we went around to collect a free gift the Rangers had sent. I signed Samantha up for the Rangers “Jr Rangers Program“. It’s a fabulous deal. You pay $12 for a season, and you get vouchers good for 6 free kids tickets spread out during the season. You also get a player photo frame, a baseball, and a membership card. You also get a free gift once per month (as well as newsletters mailed to the house). So we walked over to the kiosk where you collect the monthly gift. I was expecting it to be a magnet, or a picture, or something small. They handed me a Buck Showalter bobblehead. I was quite surprised at that. Was a major bonus. I have to say the Jr Rangers program is an extremely good value if you have kids that like attending Ranger games. $12 for all that is stupid cheap for what you get. The final bit of merchandise was something I got when I renewed my season ticket package last winter by a certain date. We got a free laser engraved bat, which I had engraved with the words “Samantha Anne Siegler – 1st Game Jun 18, 2005 – Rangers vs. Nationals”. So we got the souvenir thing covered well. :)
I then walked some more (which was starting to get to my wife, sorry honey, I know I pushed it on Saturday) and went upstairs. This was a season ticket game of mine, but I didn’t use my regular seat so my wife and daughter could attend. But I wanted to stop by my regular section so the folks who sit there with me could see my daughter, as could the users in that area. I enjoyed showing off my baby, but by this point we needed to head to our seats, so we headed all the way down to section 344, which is the next to the last section in the outer right field seats. We sat down, and I broke out the scorecard in the program. As I wanted to save the program for Samantha for later on, I wanted to make sure I had scored the game too. I always do that, but rarely on paper anymore, and never in the Rangers program. But this one I wanted to in there. During the game, Samantha was extremely well behaved. She had a couple of small moments of screaming, but nothing major at all. She spent most of the game in mommy’s arms. I held her for a little while, but I spent most of my time watching Samantha, as well as the game. I thought the fireworks would scare Samantha. She did jump at the first one, but then it seemed like no big deal. In fact, any “new” loud noise she moved for, but then basically ignored it. One tip – if you’re sitting in Sections 333 or higher and have a little kid, make sure to cover them when the home run fireworks go off, as they tend to deposit soot on you. She had three bottles at the game. The first one shortly after we had first got there. The second one was during the game, and the final one was after the game was over. The team had a fireworks show for everyone after teh game was over. We skipped that, but Lynn was in the outer concourse feeding Samantha during that, so we got to see some of the really high ones (as we were in a bad place to see the fireworks). We then left to go to the truck, as I’ve learned fireworks shows are a great way to avoid traffic after the game. Walking to the truck we got to see some of the fireworks, and the big finale as we were actually leaving the parking lot.
So to bring this to a close, I was overwhelmed by emotion at the start of the game. It’s more powerful now that I’m looking backwards at the event instead of sitting in the seat in the ballpark thinking about it. I absolutely adored watching my wife and my kid at the ballpark with me. It’s something that I think all parents should experience. Granted, I’m sure it’s enhanced a lot by the fact that I’m a big baseball fan. Non baseball fans probably won’t get that feeling. Having a kid of my own to take to games has been something I’ve been looking forward to for many years. Even pre-dating the time I first met my wife 18 years ago. But having the kid to pass on my knowledge of baseball to will be great. Hopefully she’s not someone who doesn’t like baseball. That will kill Daddy. :)
As a final memento of the day, I burned a copy of the game’s broadcast to DVD off my TiVo, and I saved the box score out of the newspaper the next day for the scrapbook.
I love my daughter. I love my wife, and all the cares of the world didn’t exist when I was sitting there in the park with the two of them.
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