Our national pastime is Aiden’s too, it seems

We gave our middle grandson his next test in the process of growing up and, I for one am glad to report, he passed it with flying colors.

We took Aiden to his first professional baseball game last week, a few weeks shy of his third birthday, and he managed to stay awake and stay interested through the whole game.

Granted, he wasn’t necessarily interested in the game itself — or even really know what was going on — but at least he sat through the entire game without falling asleep, crying or demanding to leave at any point. That’s more than I can say for some people I’ve gone to baseball games with who are 10 or 15 times older than he is.

It was a minor league baseball game, which meant our seats were only 10 rows or so from the field, instead of three levels up, so the action was a little closer and easier for Aiden — and the rest of us — to follow.

It meant that the between-innings entertainment was closer for Aiden to pay attention to as well. Since one of those consisted of kids racing motorized go carts around the stadium, they had Aiden’s attention without even trying.

It was also a bobblehead giveaway and, since Aiden had his own seat and ticket, he got one too, which gave him something else to occupy himself for a little while — and he managed to keep it intact and in one piece through the whole game.

In addition to being close to all the action — game and otherwise — we were also close to all the concession stands, which was something else Aiden figured out pretty quickly.

He had a hot dog, of course — what would a baseball game be without a hot dog? — but he also tried the popcorn, peanuts and pretzels. If the game had gone to extra innings, he probably would have gone to work on the Cracker Jacks.

Aiden’s parents also came to the game, along with his Mee-Mee and Poppie. While his dad and Poppie were trying to educate him to the finer points of the national pastime, Mee-Mee had another part of Aiden’s education in mind.

So it was that, even before the game started, Mee-Mee took Aiden to the team store for a little shopping. You’ve got your national pastime, Mee-Mee has hers.

She bought Aiden a t-shirt and the two of them went down by the home team dugout, where they got a couple of the players to sign the shirt for Aiden.

Never mind that neither one of them knew who the players were who autographed his shirt, or that neither of the autographs were anywhere near legible. If anybody from this team ever makes it to the major leagues, it will be their autograph on Aiden’s t-shirt — if it hasn’t faded or been washed out before then.

The highlight of the game for Aiden and the rest of us came about the sixth inning. That’s when the team mascot, Fang the Timber Rattler, came through our section.

Aiden got his autograph on his shirt — and that one you could actually read. He also got his picture taken with Fang.

Last summer, he went to a local parade where Aiden managed to get his picture taken given the Milwaukee Brewers racing Polish Sausage a high-five, so he already has had his picture taken with two baseball team mascots. For some people, that’s a lifetime of mascot action.


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