"Daddy, can I get some nachos?"
And so it begins. Everything came back to me as we walked through the gates. I remember my dad taking me to my first baseball game like it was yesterday.
The unique aroma of a ballpark dog draws you closer to the menu for a quick peek. My daughter is three years old. This was her first game of any sport. She will be referred to as "the kid" from here on out.
We attended the May 13th Mother's Day game. The kid's mom was cuffed to her job, so we cheered on the Drillers in her honor. Pink hats were given to mothers upon stadium entrance but, alas, I did not qualify.
We maneuvered to our seats after grabbing our extra cheesy nachos and a couple of cold waters, but we were cut off by a moving table. The interesting note about the table was that it was being carried by the Drillers' owner.
Chuck Lamson assisted a young girl in moving a folding table across the premise. So much for money and power going to your head. This would not be the last Lamson sighting.
Timing is everything. By the time we found our seats and settled in, the Drillers were down 0-4 in the bottom of the 1st. The crowd showered Drillers pitcher Sam Deduno for escaping the inning only down four. The Drillers adorned pink jerseys.
Denduno settled down and pitched a masterful remainder of the game. Everywhere you turned, motherly figures proudly wore the free pink hats.
The crowd welcomed the 90-degree, sunny day after two weeks of dreary weather. A slight breeze cooled just enough to make the atmosphere perfect for Drillers baseball.
The field appeared to be in pristine condition.
The overabundance of precipitation didn't seem to have an adverse effect on the diamond.
The kid finally loosened up around the 5th inning. Perhaps the crowd and size of the event overwhelmed her at first. Pretty soon I couldn't keep her from dancing and clapping with the masses.
There were several random fan moments that captured my attention. Perhaps the best was the guy who wondered aloud whether a homerun counted as an RBI.
Our section received a free roast beef sandwich from Arby's. The Drillers dinger in the 5th inning prompted a rally as well as free food for my section. A real win-win situation.
It was the rarest of sporting events. The manhood of the umpires was not called into question. Balls were balls and strikes were strikes. Someone contact MLB and move this crew into the bigs immediately.
The 7th inning stretch delivered. HYPERLINK "http://www.kotv.com/about/bios/LeAnne_Taylor/"; LeAnne Taylor of KOTV news led a superb rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame," followed by another gem - "Oklahoma!".
Taylor has pipes. The girl can flat-out sing. If I were to channel Simon Cowell for a second, I'd say she missed one high note. Otherwise, she rocked.
She has received awards in the past from the Tulsa Chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Her battling breast cancer and continuing her news duties have been a true testament to her courage. And she can sing!
At the two-hour mark of the game, 'the kid' found her way to my lap. Clapping and people watching were in full effect for the little one.
Business picked up in the bottom of the 7th as the Drillers fought back to take the lead for good.
Tulsa ended the inning scoring six runs off of eight hits, giving them an 8-4 lead. They went on to win 11-4 and recapture the division lead.
My inebriated "buddy" came up with another favorite moment of mine. A sharply hit foul ball down the third base line evoked this gem.
"He tried to kill someone. That's a homicide foul." Trust me when I say I am laughing with him and not at him. Watching games from your couch is ok. Witnessing live sporting events with loud, intoxicated, somewhat witty fans is what separates the two. Hooray for beer!
The Drillers are sneaky good. The team doesn't hang its hat on one particular trademark. I looked up and the Drillers had rung up 17 hits. They can bang the occasional long ball.
The pitchers are smart and get out of jams when necessary. The intellectual base running keeps other teams on their toes.
Corey Wimberly was in the leadoff slot. He is your prototypical leadoff guy. Fast, instinctive player. If this guy added a little pop to his bat, he'd be money.
Christian Burkhardt Colonel is batting over .400 in his last 10 games. Colonel was born on Christmas and was given the name Christian. Needless to say, one guy had a little fun with him. Good thing he plays for the home team.
The kid didn't want the game to end. She wanted to know why the kids were chasing the cow. (The running with the bull, Hornsby)
She couldn't figure out why all the kids wear gloves in the stands. She felt the need to ask approximately 1 million questions concerning the advertisements on the outfield wall.
She was amazed to see Lamson interact with fans as the stadium emptied. Actually, she doesn't know him, but I was mildly entertained watching him in action.
At the end of the day, I think the kid had fun. In fact, I know she did -- just like my first trip to the ol' ballpark.
The Drillers play host to the Springfield Cardinals May 17-20. Visit TulsaDrillers.com for more information.
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