I took Liv to a Sacramento River Cats game today. They are the Triple-A Minor League affiliate for the San Francisco Giants, which means they have absolutely no talent on the team and I go just to see if there are any interesting up and comers on the other team. In the Spring they do a good job of having games that start at noon, especially during the week so kids can skip school and enjoy a ball game before it gets too hot. I have taken Liv to a couple so far. She is very agnostic towards baseball at this point. However, it is vital that she gets to these games, as most young children should get to ball games before they hit adulthood. Mostly though, her mother was born with the innate ability to absolutely tune out a baseball game and not care one iota one way or the other about who is playing. Liv cannot be allowed to replicate this gene inside her. It must be destroyed. There are, of course, very compelling reasons as to why baseball for youngsters is so great.
- It teaches patience. Now, I am not speaking of playing baseball which teaches patience. I challenge anyone to stand in right field when you are 12 for two hours and pray that somebody, anybody, hits a ball to you. It won’t happen. Ever. But watching baseball teaches patience in the best ways. You must sit still, in your seat, in the sun, for three hours. You must watch pitch after pitch, not really telling whether the ball is actually a strike or not because the angle along the baselines is so severe that you can’t actually know where it landed across the plate. You watch every ball that is hit, thinking it could be a foul ball finally coming your way, only to watch it go over the fence for a home run. And you want to cheer, because a home run is cool, but it was hit by the opposing team so you have to sit quietly until your team is up. Then you realize your team is a minor league team and most these guys will never play on TV for your favorite Major League ball club. You might as well be at a little league game. If you can make it through this, you can make it through just about anything in life. We left before the top half of the 3rd inning was over. So Liv failed this one.
- It teaches perseverance. Anybody can play baseball. Of all the sports, good size is not a requirement to play in the majors. Just look at David Eckstein. He was 5 foot 6 inches of nothing but rawhide. My oldest nephew Jack was already bigger than this guy by the time he was 12. But Eckstein still made it to the major leagues and had a completely mediocre career at shortstop. Just check out his stat line: David Eckstein Stats. Heck, if this dude can win a world series, then anybody can. All you have to do is persevere through all that patience, and you may have a shot.
- Mascots. Mascots are great. Especially minor league mascots. Especially minor league mascots that are cats. It is the only part of the ball game my daughter gets excited about, as long as she doesn’t get too close. And all the little league kids that showed up love the mascot Dinger, who does absolutely nothing of consequence except drive around on an ATV and occasionally give high fives to people. The last game I went to I watched hundreds of kids line up in the middle of the aisle just to get some dude in an oversized cat costume write his fake name all over their hats and shirts. For the life of me I will never know why someone would want a fake named autograph, but kids eat that stuff up. Liv doesn’t care about autographs yet, so I’m off the hook on that one, but every time we go into the team store she sees the mascot stuffed animals and has to have one. Except, each time she picks out a polar bear wearing the teams’ shirt, so it isn’t even the right mascot she picks out.
So there you have it. Three great reasons to take your children to minor league baseball games when the sun shines on you all day as the temperatures rapidly approach 90 degrees. It actually is a pretty good time if you can do it. Just don’t expect to actually watch any of the game. The ice cream is always good, though.