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May
01

Family Fun at the Cincinnati Reds

Yes, I did take this picture. :)

Last week Chuck came home from work with a huge surprise.  He had acquired 4 tickets for a Reds game.  Now, here’s a little secret about me.  I love, love, love, love, LOVE baseball.  I love everything about it.  The smells, the sounds, the fans, the players, the tight white pants (okay, that may just be me and only applies to professionals. LOL), the sound of the bat cracking as it hits the ball, the grunt from the pitcher as he throws his best fastball, and lastly, the “I got its” from the fielders as the hussle to get under a ball, this list is truly endless.  ”My” team has been the Cincinnati Reds for-ever!  I think this love of all things Redlegs was found early in life.  My Dad is a huge baseball fan as well and I took notice.  I absorbed everything he would tell me from watching game at Crosley Field to sitting in the stands watching the “Big Red Machine” in action.  My little girl self would just sit and listen in wonderment.  I went to my first Reds game fairly early in life.  Those trips continued for years.  By the time I was a teen I was getting to actually stand on the field at Riverfront Stadium with the marching band and perform before a game.  There was nothing better than looking around at all the people in the stands to make me forget what I was doing.  :D

Gapper, our favorite Reds mascot!

When Chuck and I met, he wasn’t as big a fan.  This has changed over time.  I think my love for the game has rubbed off on him.  The last few years we’ve been unable to go to a game.  Our budget didn’t allow it and babysitting can be hard to find.  We had agreed that when we felt the kids could sit through an entire game we would go again.  A few weeks ago Chuck sent me a message from work that said “Would you like to go to the Reds game?”  I couldn’t get the email response back fast enough.  It was a YES!

Last week, Chuck comes strolling through the door after work and hands me a envelope.  Inside are 4 tickets to the game plus a parking pass.  I ask where he got the tickets and he works with someone who has season tickets.  He had ask Chuck if he wanted tickets to Sunday’s game because he wasn’t going.  Let me tell you, this man hooked Chuck up!  The tickets were the best seats I’ve ever sat in!  We were 6 rows behind the Reds dugout.  Can we say close up shots of Joey Votto and Jay Bruce?  Squee!  Add to this that the parking pass we were given allowed us into VIP parking.  We walked up the stairs and were at the front gate of the stadium.

The kids were thrilled with the whole idea of a baseball game.  They were smiling, chatty and laughing the whole way to Great American Ballpark.  A had on her brand new Cincinnati Reds tee shirt, Ren had gotten his Reds jersey out of his dresser along with his ball glove.  They were dressed and ready 2 hours before we left.  It was so cute!

There are some really great perks to your first baseball game.  Each of the kids got certificates stating that it was their first Reds game.  We also decided ahead of time to give them the full ballpark treatment.  This means loaded hot dogs, chips, drinks and peanuts.  Oh and Cracker Jacks, can’t forget those!  The actual game was a good one.  The Reds were down by two with a man on second base when up strolls Joey Votto to the plate.  He hit a home run and tied the game 2-2.  As the ball soared through the air toward the stands, I caught a peek at A.  She was standing, hands in the air yelling “gooooo”.  Once the fireworks were set off and Votto was rounding the bases she looked at me and said “Mommy, that was amazing”.  Yup, watching it through her eyes was amazing.  My heart swelled!

Hugging the catcher!

Ren had a whole other perspective on the game.  He wanted to know everything.  ”What type of pitch was that Daddy?”, or “Why did he swing at that one?” were common questions from him.  I think the cutest part was watching him try to catch every pop up that came our direction.  He didn’t care if it was well over our heads or in the next section, his glove was up and he wanted to catch that ball.  He tried really hard to get one from someone coming off the field as well, but no one would toss him a ball.  Boo.  His cutest part of the event actually happened once we got home.  He was chatting with Chuck and I overheard him say “well, when I grow up and become a great catcher for the Reds, like Hanigan is, then I’m going to be so happy”.  Chuck started to say something about how hard it is to actually play professional sports, but then stopped himself.  He changed it to a lesson about working hard toward a goal and if this was Ren’s dream then we would happily help him in any way we could.  I was almost in tears.  It was a very Brady moment.  LOL

Chuck and the kids

Oh, the best part of the game for me and Chuck?  Running the bases.  Sunday’s are family days at Great American and after the game they invite anyone who wants to onto the field to run the bases.  Our seats were so great that we didn’t have to stand in line.  We were some of the first people around the bases and it was amazing.  I tried to savor tagging each bag all while trying to keep up with A and Ren.  They were having a blast running.  Afterward it was to the Reds shop for some “first game souveniers” and then it was on home.

So, this is a public thank you to the person who gave us the tickets, you know who you are!  We had an awesome time.  There were so many memories made that I couldn’t possibly list them all here.  There really isn’t a better way to spend an afternoon than teaching your kids about the great American past time.  Thank you Reds for winning over the Astros.  Thank you Joey Votto and Ryan Hanigan for hitting your way into my two kids hearts and earning the spot of their first baseball hero.  Get out to the ballpark!  It’s a great time!

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