Late last week, I spent three days and nights taking in different major league baseball games with my dad and oldest son. This was the first time we embarked on such a trip. We visited Baltimore’s Camden Yards, Philadelphia’s new Citizen’s Field and then watched the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium. I thought the outing would be a fun bonding experience between three generations of Moed men (well, one is still an 11 year old boy), but it proved to be much more than that.
For starters, one reality that smacked us in the face pretty quickly is the high cost of attending any baseball game these days. I really didn’t have to worry too much. To be candid, many of the tickets were given to me through business acquaintances. But, I can see how the average middle class family could have some real issues with all the costs involved in going to the ball park. Seeing their favorite team play live just isn’t really affordable anymore. Between parking (in Yankee Stadium it actually cost $35), the price of tickets and then food, I bet that a family of four would have to spend upwards of $250- $300 per game in any major city. That’s really a shame.
Even with those prices (and on and off again rain showers) it’s amazing that all three stadiums were pretty full…mostly with families. I guess there is just something about the professional sport of baseball and local fan passion that keeps these families coming back, regardless of how much the cost of admission rises every year.
Which brings me to the main point of this post. While the three of us enjoyed traveling together, the experience we had in the ball parks was truly “priceless,” because it served to create a new bond between a 70-something year old grandfather, his middle aged son and an 11 year old boy that had never been established before. All of us like baseball and we certainly enjoyed watching the games. But, during the hours spent in our seats, we found new common ground talking and cheering about a great play in the field, a clutch homer in the last inning and lights out pitching that was simply remarkable. And, that isn’t something I entirely expected.
You see, my oldest son doesn’t say a whole lot in general. I didn’t expect that personality trait to change during this trip. Conversely, my father does. But, it’s typically focused on history, wars, the latest book he is reading or what’s happening with his group of close friends in Florida. Usually, I just try to serve as a go between on any topic that seems interesting based on who I’m with. All of this background raised the question in my mind – I wonder what we’ll talk about during the 72 hours we’ll be spending together?
Thankfully, none of that came into play after the first pitch was thrown in each game. And, that’s what was so cool. Instead, all three of us just sat back appreciated the games and talked baseball. My father delighted my son with some great stories of visiting his favorite Brooklyn Dodgers and Yankees teams of the past. Josh opened up a lot by calling out many plays in the games we were watching and I jumped in to each conversation pretty naturally, while soaking in the camaraderie and the connection that the three of us were now living. That made our trip truly special.
The morale of this story is that for all the reasons wrong with professional baseball (like steroids, over paid athletes and overpriced tickets), there is one magical reason why a grandfather, father and his son should still take in major league baseball games together. In our case, three different generations of Moed men found common ground in the most natural of ways. And, I don’t think any of us will ever forget it.