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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Must be in the Front Row... No, Really!...

Good seats, hey buddy? 
In the well known 1980’s Miller Lite commercial (maybe I’m dating myself), Bob Uecker was informed by a stadium usher that he was sitting in the wrong seats and Uecker tells the viewers, “I must be in the front row.”

Well, Saturday afternoon, I felt like Uecker when I took my 7-year-old daughter to our first game at the new Marlins Stadium in Little Havana (although, instead of being escorted to the nose bleed section, where I usually sit, like Uecker in the commercial, I was actually sitting in the front row!)

In fact, as the row numbers started waning down, as we walked down the steps in the section that we were in, I realized we were beyond the numbers; we were in the letters section below.

We kept going down a second set of steps and when I asked the usher where our seats were, he said, they were directly behind the third base dugout, where the Marlins sit, and promptly asked that we please not place anything on top of the dugout (because "they" don't like anything on the dugout.  Hmmm... Can the players actually feel if a bag of peanuts is laying on top of the dugout?).

Anyway, needless to say; wow! What a way to introduce my daughter to baseball.

The tickets were given to me by my mother-in-law (who I happen to love!).  Her boss was going out of town for Memorial Weekend and was not going to use them, so he gave them to her and she, in turn, gave them to me to take my four-year-old son.  Ironically, I had just asked my son on Friday morning if he wanted me to take him to a baseball game.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that it wasn't fair to my seven-year-old daughter.

Last November, I took my oldest daughter on a daddy "date" to see Taylor Swift. Furthermore, being the baby of the family, my son gets a lot of attention from my wife and me (and toys that daddy wishes he had gotten as a kid!) and sometimes, my middle child seems to feel like… well, the middle child; the one who gets left out or lost in the commotion.  

As much as I wanted to take my son, I decided to make it a "date night" with our seven-year-old daughter instead. God willing, there will be plenty of other opportunities to take my son.

It turned out to be a great decision.  Although, my son balked at first (pardon the pun), he got over it quickly when my wife told him he was going to go on a date with her, my oldest daughter and his grandma (my mother-in-law).

The tickets were so good that a good friend of mine, who is a partner in a prominent law firm, and shares season tickets with his partners, texted me a message shortly after we sat down that we had just walked by them.  He said he was about 15 rows back to my right and when I turned around, he stood up and waved.  Nice!

It was almost too good to be true.  As a matter of fact, the same usher came up to us in the fourth inning, after we had returned to our seats, after making a food run (my daughter was soooo hungry that she started asking for dinner as we sat down for the four o'clock game!), and told me in a firm tone, "Sir, you have to go sit in your assigned seat," Say what? Was this going to turn into the Miller Lite commercial?

"These are our assigned seats," I insisted. "Oh, I'm sorry," he said very apologetically.  "I know the guy that usually sits here and thought you might have sat in his seats by mistake. I’m really sorry."

By mistake? Really? Do I really look like I can't afford these seats?  Ok., don't answer that last one.  The fact that I didn't have enough cash to buy cotton candy (or a beer) may have been a giveaway.  But, who noticed?  Oh well, no harm done, I thought.  My daughter didn't seem to care.

She had front row seats, ate overpriced chicken nuggets and ballpark peanuts, drank soda (which she is usually not allowed to drink!), saw the Marlins win a close game against the San Francisco Giants (although she hardly noticed) and got to spend some quality one-on-one time with dad, who explained some of the intricacies of the game, like having to pay attention when a lefthanded hitter was up, in case a foul ball was hit at us!

If not for my getting too caught up in my explanations and telling her the story of the father that died trying to go after a ball tossed by Josh Hamilton in Texas last year (which, as the words came out of my mouth, I quickly regretted), and all the boys around us hogging the balls that Logan Morrison and other players would toss into the stands after every inning, it was perfect.

In fact, she can't wait until we go back. Unfortunately, the next time, we might be sitting in the real Uecker seats and, unfortunately, unless my mother-in-law's boss goes out of town again, that won't mean the front row!...

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