Monday, May 19, 2014

Operation Cardinal

Between the second and third grade, JT discovered baseball.  They’ve been together ever since.  He watches and analyzes the game, reads about it, pours over apps with game stats, and thinks about the strategy of the national pastime.  In season, his first conversation with me each morning is about the night’s previous games.  In and out of season, it’s a frequent reason he needs to call his Grandpa and talk things through.  In fact, it is Grandpa who introduced him to his favorite teams.

In this regard, the boy has been a lucky baseball fan.   His favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, and his runner-up team, the San Francisco Giants, have had some very good years.  He’s been to see the Giants in their home stadium and he’s seen the Cardinals in both Philadelphia and Washington DC.  With Grandpa, he saw the Cardinals in a Florida Spring Training game.  But he’d never seen the Cardinals at home.

That changed this weekend, when T, JT, and I rolled into St. Louis to see his team at home.  The trip was a treat to celebrate JT’s mighty hard work in the 8th grade and an opportunity to ensure that the boy experienced the most holiest of baseball venues: Busch Stadium, home of the best fans in baseball.  We got to the stadium early so the boy could experience it all.

He soaked it in and we exchanged a few jokes about the fact that every time he sees St. Louis in person, the Cardinals lose.  This game’s pitcher was Shelby Miller, a young phenom who has been known to give us some anxious moments this season.  But on Saturday, Miller was terrific and the Cardinals delivered a win.  The boy was most happy.

Though there were some Atlanta Braves fans in attendance, most of the 40,000 plus people at the game were rooting for the hometown, in jerseys and t-shirts that showed the depth of their affection.   JT opted for his Cardinals Hall of Fame t-shirt and T and I were in appropriate shades of red.

After the game, we headed across the street to the Cardinals own Hall of Fame, a new museum with a history of the team.  JT soaked that in as well and even took the opportunity for an at-bat with Allen Craig’s bat.

He watched highlights from previous Cardinals World Series win, taking the time to watch the 2011 collection twice because, as he explained, “I still get chills when I watch highlights of the 2011 World Series.”

T and I spent the weekend exchanging high fives to celebrate the fact that we pulled this surprise trip off.  One of the best parts of being a parent is watching your child develop a passion for something.  This weekend is one I will remember forever.

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