Baseball season is in full swing! Temperatures are warming, the kids are almost out of school, and for many of us, that means it’s time to start planning our first Royals outings of the year. There’s plenty of great parenting advice out there on how to create a memorable and fun family experience at the K, but this isn’t that kind of advice. This is for the hardcore baseball fans who understand that you must indoctrinate your children as Royals fans, but in order to do so, you have to give them fond associative memories while preventing them from ruining the game for you. For those of you who are parents first and baseball fans second (unless it’s the playoffs or, like, a really good pitching matchup or something), I’ve compiled some advice to consider before heading out to a game.
Get there early for the Outfield Experience, then LIE LIE LIE!
A carousel, fountains, games, a playground! Do it all. Get the energy out! And then hightail it out of there as the starting lineups are being announced, before your kids realize that the Outfield Experience does not, in fact, close when the game begins, as you will have told them.
Give in to the horrible sugary things.
Eight bucks for a scoop of flavorless flash-frozen ice cream pellets may seem like an enormous waste of money, and that’s because it is. However, the ice cream, funnel cake, and cotton candy keep the kids happy and temporarily tantrum-free. The euphoric effect of their sugar load provides a window of 1.5-2 innings for you to watch the game in peace.
Stop the Wave. Stop it!
There are certain allowances that must be made to ensure that our kids are enjoying themselves. Send them down the aisle to high-five Slugerrr (where he’s not standing in your way). Let them dance, if they must. But under no circumstances must they participate in the Wave. “IN THIS FAMILY, WE DON’T DO THE WAVE!” should be repeated often. It’s a nuisance and a faux pas, and it needs to be stopped.
Have a diaper/bathroom plan.
OK, this is one I overlooked as a rookie parent. Deciding who takes the kid on a bathroom run isn’t usually a big deal. In any other public space, you probably take turns. However, at a baseball game, the obvious rule is that the bigger fan should never have to leave her seat, especially during a pivotal moment. Make sure to set the plan before your husband, who grew up a Phillies fan and is only a Royals fan because of you!, isn’t clear and people start to complain about a foul odor in the bottom of the ninth.
Don’t leave early on account of your kids.
If your kids can’t handle staying up late, go to day games. If missing nap time turns them into complete nightmares, go to night games. Other than that, the average MLB game is just under three hours. Tough it out, kids! I buy the Dippin’ Dots, you stay for the whole game!
Prepare your comeback.
We all know the realities of parental judgement. If you’re out in in public, prepare to have your parenting decisions criticized by strangers. But don’t take it! I’m still proud of myself for politely confronting a woman who muttered “Why would you bring a baby to a baseball game?” behind my back. I wish I had something more clever and less defensive to say, but her shock and backpedaling were satisfying enough.
Maybe just leave the kids at home.
Once they’re older, they’ll appreciate it more and you’ll appreciate their company more. A game or two per season is plenty of sugar-filled fun for the little ones. You don’t want to end up resenting them or having them resent you for your deep hatred of Sluggerrr, after all. Besides, you’ll save TONS of money on Dippin’ Dots.