For those of you that don’t know, my husband and I were born and bred Dodger fans. (So it’s no surprise that Luke was a Dodger at heart during his first year.)Our love of baseball was renewed every spring with the crack of the bat, the strains of Vin Scully on the radio or the television, and the crowd going wild. (Or not, clearly it depended on the season.) My love for baseball was further ignited while scorekeeping for my brother’s baseball teams. Scorekeeping kept me awake, kept me warm inside the scorekeepers’ booth and kept me close to the high school boys who were umpires for his games. Ah, young love! My husband played little league and then baseball in junior high and was a high school baseball player when I met him. Coincidence? (Um, no.) And he went on to umpire in college. (Beat still, my heart.) My husband then worked for a few college baseball teams, where I became a groupie fan, often one of the few in the rainy stands waiting for the seemingly elusive complete game.
He now has his dream job (minus the Dodger blue) for the Oakland A’s. The biggest challenge for us has been adjusting to his schedule, which includes night games, early morning departures for day games, and a six to seven week stint in Arizona for Spring Training (he arrives before the first players in order to prepare). This Spring Training (of which most is conducted during the winter-go figure) was particular heart wrenching for me, because Luke grew from a toddler into (gasp!) a boy (a little one, but still.) He is “reading” books, having full conversations, and after our first visit out to see Dad, had developed an all-consuming desire to turn any object into a bat-a block, a remote, a flashlight, a musical instrument, a medicine dispenser, you name it. So while I tried for weeks to avoid it, I realized I finally had to bring out the bat that I had hidden away over a year ago, as it was a hazard to anyone in the near vicinity of Luke-the-one-year-old-with-a-bat.
I did my best to teach Luke the basics-grip, stance, knees bent (courtesy of my Dad-that and “Whatever you do, don’t cry if you strike out.”) and eyes on the ball. My plan was to not mention this to Brian until he arrived at home and could see it, but one evening, during a Skype date, Luke started talking about it. When I couldn’t take the confusion anymore, I finally explained to my visibly disappointed husband, that I had unearthed the bat. After the initial shock was over, he asked Luke to show him. So Luke got his first real lesson through the magic of Skype. As I expected, on Brian’s first day off after arriving home, he bought Luke his first “real” bat (whiffle) and we went to the park. Luke pitched to both of us, we each pitched to him (he is still working on his grip), and then he played manager for a bit and directed us (“Go get that ball. Throw it. Hit it.”)
Tonight, after realizing that Dada was not home because he was at the game, Luke said he wanted to go. When I finally got through to him that it was about to start, and we couldn’t get there in time, he asked to watch it on tv. Let me pause to revel in the moment-My two year old asked to watch the baseball game on television. Since it was still the pregame, I offered his favorites instead, “Blue’s Clues,” “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and then, my pièce de résistance, “Caillou.” His answer-“No. The baseball game.”
I feel like it was only yesterday that the theme song to Caillou would begin and he would literally drop whatever he was doing and run to the room yelling, “Caillou! Caillou!” (It WAS yesterday.) But today, my (gulp) little man has fully embraced the love of America’s favorite pastime, and I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come.