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!
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.
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.
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.
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.