The first time we took our daughter Sophie to a Toronto Blue Jays game, she was six months old. It was a cold May day, and I started stressing about the outing from the minute we woke up that morning. I didn’t want to park downtown, I didn’t want to drag a stroller, I wasn’t sure the ticket price would be worth it if we only made it through a couple of innings, blah, blah, blah. (NMW—New Mom Worry—is often silly in hindsight, but at the time, it was tense.) In the end, we bundled her into our Moby wrap, layered on an extra receiving blanket and took the subway to the Rogers Centre.
It turned out to be the best day. Soph was wide-eyed and happy, she had two short naps as I walked the concourse (only waking when the stadium erupted for a homerun), and she had her first taste of a soft pretzel. (Landmark occasion, I know.) We left in the eighth inning to avoid the crowds, and aside from a meltdown on the last leg of the journey home, she was amazing. We’ve taken her every year since. She has developed a crush on Ace (the Jays mascot), while I’ve developed a crush on Josh Donaldson. (As a life-long ball player, I love how intense he is when he plays. And I like his hair. Sue me.) She invites more and more family members to baseball games every year, and she has amassed a collection of team gear that’s better than her dad’s.
Last year we added her little sister, Juliette, to the mix. It’s harder, but we’ve learned to bring an entourage with us so there’s always someone to take a walk with a rowdy toddler.
Five seasons in, we’re no longer rookies when it comes to taking kids to sporting events, and we’ve lived to share what we’ve learned through trial and error. Here are our top 9 tips for taking your brood to a ball game (Jays, baseball or otherwise):
My dad and grandpa took me to a handful of Jays games when I was growing up, and I became easily obsessed (with Kelly Gruber and John Olerud). Make it a summer tradition for your crew; they’ll start to count down in February.