***Stop #8 on the #MiLBRoundTripper: the Iowa Cubs***
A mid-week, noon first pitch at a Minor League ballpark used to be a good excuse to sneak out the back door at work – not for me anymore.
There is too much to do at home to blow off an afternoon at work.
But, alas, sitting in Principal Park in Des Moines, IA, I realized that there was indeed room for a midday break from work without ultimately sacrificing any valuable family time.
In fact, what if parents and kids took over these noon games in the minors?
Families could put away the screens and swimsuits in exchange for an afternoon in the grandstands – talking and watching some pro baseball.
The Iowa Cubs’ game earlier this week gave me a blueprint for how a successful family rendezvous might work at a Minor League ballpark near you.
My experience provided four “must’s” to make the midday family time at the ballpark top-notch:
(1) Postcard – Perfect view
The Iowa Cubs played the Omaha Storm Chasers in the shadow of the golden domes of the State Capitol.
From our vantage point in section 11, the panoramic view to the east provided for some good chats with my kids about local politics (“People work there?”), about architecture (“Are those domes REAL gold, Dad?”) and geography (“Can we walk there after the game?”).
(2) Limitless, Free Water
It’s June and hot – no matter if you’re in Dunedin, FL or Des Moines, IA.
Sitting for several hours in the sun requires a hat, shades, and, as importantly, a bunch of water.
Trust me, the kids will be “thirsty” in the first, “really thirsty” in the third and “dying of thirsty” by the fifth inning.
The Iowa Cubs provided FREE water on the concourse on all sides of the field – saving us parents money, time and the unavoidable complaining bound to happen has the overhead sun began to beat down.
(3) Rows of neon-clan daycare kids
By my count, there were about 10 different groups of kids attending the game from various daycare programs around Des Moines.
I’m telling you, those groups heighten the ballpark experience – belting along with the synthesizer, participation in rhythmic clapping and screaming for the hot dog shooter to point in their direction.
It’s a save bet that if your family is near a bunch of kids with matching, neon shirts your own experience at a mid-week noon game will be heightened.
(4) Parallel row seat choices
Seat selection is important with a family – trapping the kids between my wife and I provides no ability to communicate with each other. One other downfall – the parent closest to the aisle will own a disproportionate portion of the potty breaks.
The best solution is buying tickets in consecutive rows – with one parent sitting in the row and seat directly between the another. The kids can fill in the seats next to the parents.
While watching the Iowa Cubs take the field, I was able to have a nice discussion with my wife and family with my kids safe, near me and, virtually, trapped between a stranger and myself.
A mid-week day game in the minors is not reserved only for local business people – kids and families are filling up the grandstands with enthusiasm that should help create more young baseball fans.
***The next stop on the #MiLBRoundTripper: the Quad Cities (IA/IL) River Bandits***