Andrew is, as always, a funny little guy. His love of all things sports related continues unabated.
Ball was one of the first words he learned, and it was usually accompanied by the signal for touchdown - two hands raised in the air. He's beginning to figure out there are different types of sports, though he almost always calls all sports still bup-ball. But he's figuring out that each sport is played differently. Football still yields the touchdown signal, and he's started sorta saying touchdown too. Basketball has him making a swish motion as if the ball is going through a net. And now with the world cup on, when he sees soccer he'll kick with his foot. Some might say calling soccer football is more accurate, of course, but we are an American football loving family, and Andrew just continues that tradition.
A couple of weeks ago we went to a Nationals game with a 4:35 first pitch. Even though it was 98 degrees, it was perfect. One section of the stands is in shade in the afternoon, it also happened to be $1 kids ticket night (under 2 years old is free, but otherwise kids pay adult prices), there are plenty of concessions, and Strasburg was pitching (and despite getting the L, he had 10 strikeouts and set the record for most Ks in 4 games for a rookie).
Andrew enjoyed watching, though at one point got a little grumpy. So I pulled him onto my lap and started a little play by play, in my best Chuck Thompson/Jon Miller (sigh) voice. The batter steps into the box. Pitcher receives the signal from the catcher, nods, checks the runner on first, sets, here's the windup and the pitch, high and outside, ball 1. Etc.
After an inning of this, Andrew pushed himself off my lap, and started showing me his windup! He would stare down at the field and just throw his right arm out in what I guess you could call a side arm pitch. Very cute.
Elizabeth also had a great time watching, though she is more a fan, at once fascinated and yet terrified, of the big-headed Presidents.
We got there late and it was too hot and not enough time to move around much, but as we were leaving she spotted the kid area.
We went back on July 3rd, again a late afternoon game (4:10), again Strasburg pitching, but this time got standing room only seats that allowed us to explore the stadium a little more. There's a lot to do there, but all in all I think seats are better - even though there are a ton of attractions and food outside of the seating, there's not a great way to follow the game, presumably to keep people in the seats cheering for the home team. For those keeping track, the Nats were down at the end of the 8th, it was hot, and the kids were tired. We left with the hordes of others streaming out. After all the Nats were 0-39 when losing going into the 9th. So of course they stage their only successful comeback and win the game.
He's taken to carrying around baseballs (and footballs, too, but baseballs fit in the hand better). We still rock Andrew to sleep at night, and I'll just admit I get a little stir crazy rocking in darkened room. So I've been turning on the nightly Nats game, and we'll watch a bit before he snuggles in, baseball in hand, and drifts off. I have to admit it's kind of nice watching baseball again. This week, with the allstar break, he's been grabbing the TV remote and trying to get me to turn on baseball for him to watch and getting angry when I turn on music. Oh, and his bedtime story? Well, we got one of the free booklets about the Nats and we have to page through it with him (several times) while he points out the balls, bats (bap!) and gloves.
If you knew me before '90, you knew me as a die hard Orioles fan. Even though FSU had/has a great baseball team, my group was never into it, and I embraced college football whole-heartedly. The strike in the early 90s killed my love of pro baseball. We can get through two world wars without a canceled series but greed? A strike, a wasted season, no world series? uh uh. I was done, and even Ripken couldn't bring me back. I turned my back on baseball and haven't watched a game in years. This Nats thing, though.....I might slowly be working my way back. I can't root for the Orioles anymore, sad to say. Angelos, you are a hated man. My family - still die hards - will disown me. But watching the Nats....I don't know. I don't know if I can get into the National League. It feels weird. (I don't know who to hate or who to tolerate or who to root for. American League East I still have down cold, but this national league stuff is weirding me out. Plus why is the pitcheer batting? I mgiht be the only (former) die hard baseball fan who defends the designated hitter).
There is one more 4:35 first pitch, September 23, the day after E's birthday, against Houston. I think we'll be there. There are a few fun promos left in the season (bobble heads, backpacks and the like) so maybe we'll try an evening game, too. Sept 6 (Mets, 1:05 - Labor Day) and September 12 (Florida, 1:35) are the remaining $1 kids days, which unfortunately is right at nap time.
Meanwhile, college football kicks off September 2nd!