This weekend, we took our 15-month daughter to AT&T Park to watch our first San Francisco Giants game as family of three, and we had a blast! Pre-Ilse, my husband and I attended at least five games a year. Whether it was a weeknight game or day game on a sunny Saturday, we attended. We took the bus to Second and Market streets and walked the rest of the way. We’v been sunburned, rained on, and have even froze when it got too cold in our upper deck seats. Baseball has made our summers together more fun. Since having our daughter, we have had to rethink attending a baseball game in the same way we have had to rethink other social activities, like eating at a new restaurant or attending a friend’s barbecue. By rethinking, I don’t mean not engaging in any social activity, more like rethink how we would participate with our child. For me, it can be summed up into two concepts: Forethought and Flexibility, and it can apply to any social activity, especially baseball games!
With a child, a little forethought is essential for attending any sports game. Baseball is exceptionally family-friendly and planner- friendly, because the long season, running from April – September (not including post season), offers an assortment of dates and times of games to choose from. Select the game times that make the most sense for you and your family. Consider the weather when considering what gear to bring for your child. In San Francisco, we always wear layers, even in on sunny days! (Don’t forget the sunblock!) Additionally, consider how to travel to the game (either via public transportation or your own vehicle). Be diligent about preparedness. Check your team’s website for helpful hints. For any Giants’ game, I highly recommend visiting their A-Z guide on their website. At the very least, know where the nearest restrooms are.
Now that you’ve planned the perfect outing, you have to be prepared for the exact opposite, the unexpected. Hence, the other side to a fun, family day out is flexibility. While an adult may be able to sit through nine innings and wait excitedly for that last out, a child may not. Maybe the game is too loud. Maybe he or she is fussy from not having a nap prior to the game. We, as parents and fans, must be okay with being flexible about when to depart the ball park. That could mean leaving after five innings or not sitting at your seat at all and wandering the park the entire time.
With a little forethought and flexibility, any social activity that was once reserved for just two can easily be accomplished by a family. For us with baseball, that meant attending a day game on a Sunday, driving our car to a nearby lot, packing lots of snacks and sun gear, and leaving her stroller in the car. We anticipated leaving the ballpark after six innings, but our little “giant” made it through the entire game! Ilse ate hot pretzel, nibbled on the corn part of the corn dog, and took a snooze on her dad’s lap. Ilse’s comfort and enjoyment is our priority. When all of us are comfortable and happy, being a Giants fan can be so much fun!
There are a two things you don’t want to miss at AT&T Park with your kids:
- Coca-Cola Fan Lot and 4 Super Slides!
- Little Giants Park- a 50 x 50 ft replica of AT &T park where your little one can hit a ball and run the bases!