At just five years old, my son Maximus has a mistress. Her name is Baseball.
It all started when his school sent home a flyer about the local Cal Ripken T-Ball Division. Immediately, his Uncle Johnny and I thought it would be a great idea for Max who loves anything that might send him to the emergency room. And since his Dad passed away, leaving Max in a house full of estrogen, I've been sort of obsessed with giving him a healthy dose of all things male. It's like there's a checklist in my head for Things All Boys Must Do. Or more accurately, Things His Dad Would Have Done.
Max became an official team member of the Cal Ripken Orioles and so began a love affair. His passion is all-consuming.
Saturday night Max got to go to his first real game and saw the Reno Aces, a triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. The new outdoor stadium was a perfect setting for this rite of passage; all major league style with an intimacy that had us sitting right above the dug-out on the third baseline. Max proved to be a quick study. He wore his mitt when left-handed batters were at the plate, clapped along to the beat of the stadium music, assigned himself a favorite player (Josh Whitesell) and screamed that the umps needed glasses. The only time his jittery, sugar-crazed eyes left the field was to see a re-play on the big screen.
The Aces won and Max left with a new hat, a dirt-smudged game ball and a high-five from the creepy mascot, Archie. And thanks to Grandpa and Uncle Johnny, I can now mark that off my list. Baseball Game: check!