Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pony League Meets Minor League

Yesterday Nate’s baseball team got to go out on the field with the Richmond Braves. It is a neat little program that has the team go out with the R Braves during the National Anthem with the kids standing with the corresponding R Braves player at their position. They also got to meet a couple of players and get autographs.

Jake got to do it two years ago with his Little League team. His coach organized it and it was a huge hit with the kids. Larry thought it would be fun for Nate’s team and took it upon himself to organize it. There is a minimum purchase requirement of fifty tickets and I admit that I expressed doubt that we could get that many people together.

Boy was I wrong.

We ended up getting 84 tickets for the event. All but one team player was able to go.

The plan was that we would meet at the front of the stadium. While we milled about waiting for the team to be ushered on to the field Max, Nate and Rebecca climbed the stairs for this cute little photo op.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Then it was finally show time. The team and the coaches, all in uniform, were escorted to the field. The rest of the group was instructed to go into the stadium by the section near the home team dugout.

The first order of business was a team photo.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

And yes, there are five coaches in the photo. There are actually six for the team, but that was the one family that couldn’t come.

After a longish wait the players started to emerge from the dugout. Tony Pena was first out and one kid rushed up, at his father’s urging, clutching a ball. Tony was gracious enough to stop and sign, but he and the rest of the team that followed were first going to go warm up on the field. With a little wave he then jogged off.

Then it was autograph time. Some of the other families were a bit more prepared than us and their kids had balls for the players to sign, others used their gloves and hats. We realized our goof before our team was taken to the field and Larry had the excellent idea to buy a program. Larry would open up the page to the player’s bio and the player would sign there.

Tony then came back and had a true autograph session with the kids.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Then it was James Jurries turn to stop and sign his autograph.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Even Rebecca got in on the fun and had Diamond Duck autograph her thunder sticks.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

At this point Nate was really starting to feel the heat and humidity. Normally he doesn’t notice such things, but he was still a bit under the weather from his tonsillectomy. He rested against the wall while the team waited for the National Anthem.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

At one point he even sat on the ground. Larry picked him up and held him while I went to fetch something for him to drink.

He is a tough little guy and he was able to run out with the team and stand with Martin Prado.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Nate is on the left and is slightly obscured by Martin.

Meanwhile Max was crabbing all along wondering when he was going to be fed. He couldn’t care less about what was going on the field. He wanted food and he wanted it now.

Then the team ran off the field and we were rejoined in our assigned section.

I didn’t get to see much of the game. All I know is that the R Braves got trounced by the Charlotte Knights. The bulk of my time was spent getting food and ferrying children to the bathroom. But that’s alright; the kids had a great time. It was thunder stick night and they too watched precious little of the game. It was much more fun to whale on each other than to pay attention to what was happening on the field.

As the night wore on Nate perked up as the temperature dropped. That and the combination of a hamburger and Dipping Dots made him feel much better.

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