Are you a baseball fan? If so, chances are that you can’t wait to introduce your kids to the fun of attending a game. And why wait? The basics of baseball are simple enough for a child to easily pick up on. Even your preschoolers can understand hitting the ball and running the bases, and small children will pick up on the excitement of the crowd as well. A baseball game is a great idea for a memorable family outing, but the idea of taking one or a couple of small children to any sporting event can be daunting. Here are some tips to help that first baseball game go smoothly
- Start with the minors. Major league games can get very expensive, so it makes sense to start with a minor league game for a first timer. Minor league games are exponentially less expensive, and many minor league teams go out of their way to attract families, with promotions like discounted or free children’s tickets and theme nights like Firework Fridays or 25 cent hot dog Tuesday. Plus, the games are usually shorter than their major league counterparts. Finally, you’re less likely to run into rabid fans who take offense when your child asks a million questions or otherwise acts his age.
- Bleachers. Kids aren’t going to care about where their seats are, and odds are that they’ll be up and down a lot during the game. Save money by going for bleacher seats. If you don’t like the bleachers, try to get aisle seats. You’ll want to be able to get up in and out easily.
- Research the stadium. Some stadiums have child friendly areas with mini batting cages and baseball diamonds. Others offer various photo ops or a chance to greet the mascot. Find out what’s offered that your child might enjoy. My oldest son came away from his first baseball game with a picture of himself with the mascot and a baseball signed by the mascot. That was years ago and he’s nearly a teenager now, but he still talks about that game, and those souvenirs are still displayed in his room. These are the kinds of things that turn a game into a lasting memory.
- Pack well. Sunblock, water bottles and hats are a must. You may also want to pack some snacks – while I’d recommend that you plan on buying some things from the snack stands, you can save money by bringing some of your our own goodies as well.
- Know when enough is enough. Be prepared to leave early. You may not need to, but it’s best to expect in advance for your little one to reach his limits before the actual end of the game; nine innings are a lot to sit through for a baseball newbie. Don’t be upset if this happens; there will always be other games.
With a little advance planning and research, your child’s first baseball game will be a fond memory and the start of a family tradition.