To My Son on His Last Arizona Diamondbacks Home Game


Today a chapter in our lives comes to a close. We’re going to our last Arizona Diamondbacks home game.

My boy, I hardly have the heart to tell you this in person, and I’m not sure you’d quite understand, or even care. We knew when we agreed to move that this day would come. And now that it’s here, it’s weighing heavy on your sappy old father.

The Dbacks have been part of my life since ever there were Dbacks. And you—you’ve been going to games to since you were 4 months old. You were practically born into the Dbacks family!

As we take our seats today, I’ll be taking all this in. Remembering.

I’ll remember that your first game was Oct. 5, 2011, Game 4 of the NLDS versus the Brewers. Your mom carried you in the front pack, where you sat—or dangled?—for most of your early games.

I’ll remember that after your sister was born, your mom stayed home and we went to many games by ourselves. Just father and son.

I’ll remember that weekday start times were 6:40 p.m., dangerously close to bedtime to begin with, and so often you’d nod off in the car on the way there and I’d carry your increasingly heavy, sleeping self from the car to the stadium to the seats, sometimes trying to manipulate stroller and diaper bag and all other things in my free hand. Oh, how I struggled!

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Father-son sleepy selfie. #godbacks

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I’ll remember the times you woke up, finding your self inexplicably in a baseball stadium, and demanded we go home.

I’ll remember when you never wanted to leave.

I’ll remember that I’d keep you occupied with videos on my cellphone, coloring books and snacks from the trusty diaper bag. Paying attention to the action on the field was not even in the realm of possibility (for either of us!), but that was OK. It was quality time.

I’ll remember that you learned the art of opening a peanut and the joy of the occasional ball of cotton candy.

I’ll remember that I’d try to get pictures. It was risky because anytime I produced the phone from my pocket, you’d want it immediately and you’d get lost in videos or whatever else for the rest of the night.

I’ll remember that some nights you were totally game for the #fathersonselfie.

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I think I might have blinked. #fathersonselfie

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I’ll remember that you had such fun watching the Dbacks Legends—the “big heads”—race around the warning track and dance in the Sandlot kids play area for the seventh-inning stretch, right before we needed to leave to get you home to bed.

I’ll remember how tentative you were in the small-kids area, and how you flat-out refused to go in the rowdy big-kids area, even when you were big enough.

I’ll remember that every once in a while, we made it to the end of the game and were treated to fireworks. You were entranced.

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First fireworks.

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Perhaps most of all, I’ll remember that regardless of what time we left, it was mandatory to stop and check out the kinetic ball sculpture just outside the stadium. You watched it go on and on and on, when I was most eager to get going. Some days I rushed you more than others.

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Our new ritual after every @dbacks game.

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As long as I have anything to say about it, this will not be your last major league baseball game. I fully expect we can continue to share these experiences in whatever stadium we’re closest to. We might even catch the Dbacks when they’re in town. You might root for them then. You might not. Who knows. That’s not really my call.

Today, I’ll just enjoy spending this time with you, reflecting on all the memories we made in this stadium, watching this team, and looking forward to the next chapter.


Watch Your Mouth, Daddy


When my wife and I were dating, she would come to watch me play slow-pitch softball. One time I was called out for leaving first base too early after a fly out, and I blew up. (THERE IS NO WAY I LEFT EARLY! THERE IS NO WAY! YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! No, really, I’m over it.) I used no foul language, mind you, but I wouldn’t let it go—some choice words for the ump as I walked to the dugout, a few more as I sat on the bench, fuming. It was so bad that the ump threatened to eject me.

After, my wife let me know how very embarrassed she was. I don’t blame her. It was embarrassing. I was embarrassing. “Is that how you’re going to act out there when we have kids?”

The answer was of course not. At least, I hope not. Besides, I have lots of time to work on how I react to things before we have kids.

Then there was last week.

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Girl or Boy for Baby No. 2? We’re Going to Have a …

Girl or Boy for Baby No. 2? We’re Going to Have a …


The week that we found out we were expecting Baby Morgan No. 2, I took to the internets for a refresher course on when we might find out the gender. (As always, Google finished my sentence. Oh, Google, you know me so well.)

To our surprise, we found out at 12 weeks. We happened to have two ultrasounds that week—lots of extra tests for those of us experiencing “advanced maternal age” pregnancies. The first tech said she could tell us the gender with 50% confidence. I chuckled. I could have told you THAT without the million-dollar equipment. Two days later, the second tech came to the same conclusion, though she was bold enough to label the ultrasound.

Still, we were not convinced. We kept telling people, “We think we’re having a—”

“Why do you only think?” they’d reply. Of course, that made me think. See, my online search in week 5 told me that we probably wouldn’t find out the gender till around week 18, so to find out in week 12, a month and a half earlier, well, that was a bit of a surprise.

Or maybe we weren’t ready to accept the answer.

Continue reading “Girl or Boy for Baby No. 2? We’re Going to Have a …”

The Moment I Saw What Kind of a Person My Young Son Might Become

The Moment I Saw What Kind of a Person My Young Son Might Become


New parents wonder what their babies will grow up to be like. What type of big people these little people will become. Thankfully (or maybe not so much), you don’t have to look much further than the dinner table to piece together the genetic puzzle.

Will he have his dad’s serious and driven nature?
Will he be gregarious and altruistic like his mom?

Of course you want a perfect blend that includes all of the best and none of the worst less desirable traits. The reality is, your cute little kiddo’s personality will fall somewhere in between. And that’s a good thing.

You see glimpses all the time. In the playroom, he might furrow his brow as he works out a problem. (Serious.) Or in the sandbox, he might unselfishly share his shovel with a fellow digger. (Altruistic.)

I had the pleasure of seeing into my son’s future, just a little bit, at an Arizona Diamondbacks game of all places.

Continue reading “The Moment I Saw What Kind of a Person My Young Son Might Become”

Silence Is a Rare Thing Indeed When You Have a Newborn

I started this post, my first in almost three months, just after 10 a.m. on a Saturday. I got to sleep in a bit, sleep being a relative term. It’s the first time I’ve felt like writing even though I experienced one of the most memorable moments of my life: the birth of my first child. (That’s not entirely true—I *started* a half-dozen posts, but none came to fruition.)

This morning, the house is quiet and peaceful. Not clean, mind you; it looks like a baby registry blew up in our living room. Just peaceful. Friends and family have stopped dropping by quite so frequently. My parents, after having gotten their baby fix, left for home. We’re in between visits from my father-in-law and mother-in-law.

The kid finally settled down to sleep after another restless night and mom, wisely, grabbed a nap, too. But here I am, enjoying a quiet house, my mind suddenly coherent enough to put two sentences together.

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Why the Baby Registry Scares Me to Death

I didn’t know what to expect when my wife and I walked into Babies R Us last weekend. I didn’t expect it to scare the bejesus out of me, but that’s exactly what it did.

I’m familiar with the whole registry thing. I’m a big fan. Before our wedding, we loved taking the bar code scanner gun thing and zapping china and crystal and blenders maybe an item or two that we’d actually use on a daily basis, and let our adoring friends and family buy them for us.

So maybe I expected the same with the baby registry. My wife and I, with magical scanner gun in hand, twirling through the aisles and zapping everything in site. Stroller? Zap. Pirouette. BabyBjörn? Zap. Arabesque. Diapers? Zap-zap-zap. Plié.

There was zapping, but no dancing. Instead, a statuesque father-to-be gawking at a grand wall of Tommee Tippee baby bottles.

Continue reading “Why the Baby Registry Scares Me to Death”

Naming Rites: Deciding What to Call Our Kid

Picking a name for our boy is proving to be tough stuff.

Truth is, we were always more firm on the girl name, because it had significance in both of our families. From early on in our courtship, we had that much ironed out. (Was it an odd conversation to have while we were dating? Maybe. “You’re putting the cart before the horse,” my mom would say. But it was fun for us to think about.)

We had a boy name, too—still do—but I was never as solid about it. I figured there was no sense in laboring over a long list until we knew for sure what we were having.

That brings us to now, when we know what we’re having, and that business about laboring over lists.

I’ve looked at classic names and traditional names (there’s a difference?) and I’ve even looked up the 100 most popular boy names of 1880. (No. 1? John.)

I have to admit, it seems a little strange to be perusing names from a book or online list, like I’m trying to decide what to have brought in for lunch. Then again, how else are we going to know?

So far we’ve got a fuzzy set of criteria. Easy to spell. Easy to pronounce. Easy to understand. Nickname sounds as good with “Morgan” as the full name does. Won’t set up the kid for a lifetime of teasing. (I realize I could offend just about every boy and parent by going into great detail about which names we don’t like and why, so I’ll just leave it there.)

Eh, maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse. We’ve got four months to figure this out.

Do you have a good resource for baby name research? I’d love to hear about it.

Oh Boy! Today I Discovered I’ll Have a Son

This morning, while my wife held my hand in the ultrasound room, her on the table and me in the chair, I was preoccupied about finding out whether our baby was male or female. I had gotten so single-minded about it that I began to think it was the only reason we were there.

But as our technician searched around my wife’s belly with the ultrasound wand and found each angle to capture the good stuff—head size and shape, spine development, arm and leg length—and as each time she said it looked good and healthy, I became very aware how significant all this was. I said a prayer when she counted five fingers and five toes—actually, when she counted toes at all. I said a prayer when she said our baby was average. In our technician’s world, average is very good.

All of the amusing stories about fatherhood and all of the real or perceived tall tasks that lie ahead of me as a parent faded far off into the distance. None of it mattered today.

My boy appears to be healthy. For that I thank God.

Whoa Moments: Pivotal Points Early in Her Pregnancy

In about an hour, my wife has an appointment with the ultrasound technician. After four and a half months—really, since the second we starting thinking about having kids—we finally get to find out if our little IT is a girl or a boy. (That is, as my friends point out, if the baby cooperates for the camera.)

I am readying myself for this, the biggest “whoa” moment in a string of “whoa” moments.

“Whoa” moment 1: My wife telling me she was pregnant. We had been trying for a year and a half, so it was big news.

“Whoa” moment 2: Telling family and close friends. We got to relive the happy news over and over again. My wife was on the phone with her mom like 2 nanoseconds after we found out. No surprises there. I chose to wait a little longer to tell my folks. I knew they would be in town for a visit about a month after, so I told them then. For the rest, we adopted a “when it feels right” mentality. I knew it was OK to go viral when my wife posted something on Facebook.

“Whoa” moment 3: The first ultrasound appointment. We got to see our little “nublet,” to see the heartbeat going wild in the grainy moving picture. That little life starting to take shape—indescribable.

“Whoa” moment 4: The first doctor’s appointment. We heard the heartbeat on the doppler machine. It was like a game of Pac Man going on in my wife’s belly. Weechu, weechu, weechu, weechu, weechu.

Finding out whether IT is a boy or a girl will be a “whoa” moment for obvious reasons.

It will set in motion a chain of events that will change our lives forever. We’ll know which name to go with. We’ll know which color to paint the baby’s room. We’ll know which clothes to put on the baby registry.

But beyond that, I envision my life will fast-forward infinitely before my eyes in one direction or another.

  • Will I be playing army in the living room … OR dress-up?
  • Will I sign my kid up for soccer … OR, well, soccer? (OK, bad example.)
  • Will I be conducting “the talk” myself … OR will I say “Go ask your mother”?
  • When my child starts to drive, will I be paying an arm and a leg for insurance … OR just through the nose?
  • Will I get to tell my son my secret for throwing out a runner at second base?
  • OR, speaking of second base: When my daughter starts to date, will I need to buy a shotgun?
Our little “nublet” at 9.5 weeks.

Girl or Boy? Tomorrow We Find Out What “It” Is

When our friends or our family members or our servers at Applebee’s find out we’re pregnant, the most common response is “So … do you want to find out if it’s a boy or a girl?”

“Yes. Yes, we do.”

But you and I both know that’s not the last of the questions.

“So … which one do you want?”

That answer—not so simple.

I’m the oldest of three boys. My loving mother has said that she really wanted a girl. Just one. (Sorry, Mom.) I have always held that I would provide my mom with all the girls she could dream of.

At a Coyotes hockey game a couple months ago, I saw a girl a few rows in front, maybe 18 to 24 months old, bedecked in a Boston Bruins hockey warm-up and jersey. I melted. I thought, I want to have a girl so I can totally put her in hockey gear!

Then there’s the father-daughter bond. That can’t be discounted. It’s a lot of responsibility to be a strong, stable role model in a girl’s life as she grows up. I know that. I believe I will be ready.

Does this mean I want a girl? Not so fast.

As I said, I’m the oldest of three boys. All I know are boys. Grubbing-in-the-dirt boys. Needing-stitches-every-other-weekend boys. What I’m trying to get at is that I’d very much be in my element with a boy.

Our pastor spoke recently on the Book of Matthew, which spends half of the first chapter recounting the lineage of Jesus. Without getting too biblical, Matthew lists 40 fathers who had boys who became men who had boys who became men who had boys, the last of which was Jesus. I don’t know why this particular religious lesson touched me, because the desire to have a boy isn’t necessarily religious. But it accessed a part of me that hadn’t been accessed before, the ingrained inclination to pass down my name. I know, I know—if I have a daughter, she would always be a Morgan, too. I’m painting in broad strokes here.

Then there is the fact that I want to put a baseball and a glove into the crib of my baby boy and raise him to become what I wasn’t: a professional baseball player. Ah, I jest. Or do I?

All this wondering ends Thursday, when my wife has her appointment with the ultrasound technician. We finally get to find out if our little IT is a girl or a boy.