Thursday, March 13, 2008

Put him in, coach

ticket stubsAfter 3-plus years of at-home work, I've learned that unless you are needed to sign, delivery people rarely let you know they are at your front door. They drop and run.

No knock, no doorbell, not even a "Yo! Got a package here!"

The one exception is my postman, Joe. When a delivery won't fit in the mailbox, he comes to the door and always rings. But only once, James M. Cain. Only once.

Luckily, I have a four-legged, one-acre Sonitrol with bullystick breath.

If it wasn't for Murphy, I'd regularly miss the hordes of deer zipping past the fringes of our property because I'm too focused on making sure my fingers are hitting the right keys. Packages and overnight letters would pile up for days on my porch because, like most suburb dwellers, we only go in and out of our house through the garage.

And think of all the Girl Scout cookies, magazine subscriptions and testimonies from Jehovah Witnesses I'd have been subjected to by now.

This morning, Murph barked to say a letter was being tucked between the front and storm doors. Its contents -- probably, the most important purchase I'll make all year.

Tickets to Opening Day.

This will mark my 14th Major League Baseball home opener. It will be my daughter's ninth, having gone to her first at age 7 weeks and not missing a year since. Most importantly, it will be my son's first.

Thing 2, named after Cal Ripken Jr. mind you, has been held out of the starting lineup for his first five seasons for a simple reason. The boy wouldn't sit still. His first night home, the Mrs. and I were up all night walking him around trying to get him to settle and sleep. It left my knees sore for a week.

Thing 1, meanwhile, was always an enthusiastic, but well-mannered fan. She now seems mostly interested in going for the overpriced concession food. And not the good stuff, mind you. Once you see them open up the king-size pillow bag of "cheese" sauce and gulb-gulb-gulb it into a warming tray, you'll opt for the bag of peanuts from that day on.

But the boy has come around. The turning point came in early September when the two of us took in a Saturday afternoon game at Shea.

He listened while I tried to explain things to him. He asked questions. When the digitally recorded bugle finished blowing out the PA system, he yelled "Charge!" He understood the need to turn his cap inside out and put it on upside down when the Mets needed some runs late in the game. He didn't whine about wanting to go home until about the 7th inning, and stopped when I asked him to.

He emptied my wallet within reason, too.

I remember calling home on the drive back. The words swelled with a father's pride when I said, "Honey, he's ready."

1 comment:

  1. New reader here. I am starting from the beginning and working my way to the most recent. Glad to see your son is "ready". Keeping him home because he could not sit still is the exact reason my daughter, 4, has not been to a Yankees game or a Rangers game yet. This year might be the year. But, not sitting still and not paying attention to me would be a waste of allllooott of money. So I held off this long.


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