Warning: This post will degenerate into whiny self-pity towards the end. You have been warned.
This past weekend saw another double-header of baseball for the family. I’ve discussed joining the kids up for the Mariners Kids Club before, and that provides two games a month to attend for the kids with $1 ticket vouchers. This month the games happened to be back to back on Saturday and Sunday.
Every two months the kids get a packet in the mail with a newsletter and the ticket vouchers for that time period. The packet arrived for August, then a few days later for Déla, but Ciárán’s never showed up. I contacted the Mariners organization, and they had a packet waiting for me when I went to buy tickets for the games.
I was hoping to have purchased the tickets earlier in the month, especially since I have to go to the box office and it isn’t exactly convenient (especially with the construction taking place and parking). I had to have the all the vouchers in hand to get the discounted tickets, which is why it was a bit of a big deal getting Ciárán’s packet.
This wasn’t the first time there has been an issue with the Kids Club packets (missing a June game because of missed mail we were given the opportunity of a “makeup” game). Thankfully the folks working for Safeco Field and the Mariners organization really work hard to keep things working for the fans and I was able to get everything I needed.
Alright, so we got our tickets and get to the gate Saturday, head down to the dugout to try and get an autograph. We see a few of the pitchers getting in on the recent craze of “Felixing” (recreating the pose Felix Hernandez struck the moment after the last pitch of his perfect game). We also get John Jaso’s autograph. That was pretty neat (especially since I called him “Jase” Of Base and he smiled). Then we got Tom Wilhelmsen’s autograph again, but that is going to be the subject of a separate blog post.
A trip to the Moose Den, a little time on the playground, some dinner, and we settled in for an evening of baseball. All in all it was a good evening out.
The following day, however, was almost the polar opposite.
Sunday we get to the game, the kids get their shirts (a giveaway for all kids 14 and under) and we head over to see if we can nab any autographs. Almost immediately there is squabbling among the group. This does not bode well.
In an attempt to placate the masses, we head over to the playground a bit earlier than we would normally. not only did this not work as there was more arguing there, we wound up missing the chance to get Felix Hernandez’s autograph. We did manage to get Moose’s autograph. Not quite the same though (no offense).
This was an afternoon game, but for some reason I decided not to pack lunch, instead opting to purchase food at the stadium. This was fine, but expensive. We don’t go to many games, partly because of cost. The only reason we do get to go to as many games as we do is because of the Kids Club vouchers, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to afford to go. It was sort of a big deal to be buying lunch at the stadium.
And you would think that between three children two bottomless sodas would be enough, but yet they still found a way to fight over them. It was just disheartening to spend all this money only to have them continue to fight and bicker.
In the third inning we went to get garlic fries, and between setting down the backpack to pay and trying to wrangle the kids from wandering off, my hat goes missing. Was it stolen? That was my initial reaction. Retracing our steps we couldn’t find it. This was perhaps even more of a blow to my mood. While I am used to the kids acting like assholes (and frankly, they were) the loss of the hat really struck me hard.
I don’t have much Mariners gear. It was not only the hat I won during the July 4 game, it was my only Mariners cap. Trying to save money, I don’t purchase gear for myself, and so I was the last one of the group to have a Mariners hat, and to have it be an official league one, and to have won it, well, it was rather special.
Sure, I could probably go and buy another one, but the point is that I don’t because of money. I know we’re not poor, getting to go to the games is a major privilege, but we can’t afford to get a bunch of stuff, so I do without, and it was really nice to have a Mariners cap to wear to the games. And to have spent over $50 (which put enough of a strain on our finances) on food for the kids only to have them continually act ungrateful not just towards me but just behave poorly in general just made me (perhaps irrationally) upset.
I needed to take my own advice. I have had people ask me for tips on taking their kids to baseball games, and one of the key things I mention is to be prepared to leave early. So it was during the 5th or 6th inning, I don’t rightly remember, but we left. And on the way out, just adding insult to injury, we needed to wait again for the family restroom. This time by a single guy. Not a guy with a kid, but just a guy. It wasn’t the first time that day we had waited to use the family restroom either. But that’s another blog post.