“Take me out to the ball game” is my blog on major-league ballparks and the wonders of witnessing America’s favorite pastime up close.
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By Bobby Ross Jr.
Easton Moore, now 18, was just 2 years old when his father, Bobby Moore, started taking him to major-league baseball games.
They first saw their hometown Texas Rangers at what is now Globe Life Park in Arlington in 1998. Later, when Bobby Moore had to make a business trip to Houston, he introduced his son to the Astrodome — home of the Astros from 1965 to 1999.
Thus was born a tradition — and a home run of an idea.
“I always loved the game,’” said Bobby Moore, a 1994 graduate of Harding University in Searcy, Ark., who serves as vice president of global operations for the Christian Relief Fund. “I thought, ‘Why not travel to all the stadiums by the time he’s 18?’”
Before Easton Moore left home this past fall to attend Lyon College in Batesville, Ark. — where he plays on the baseball team — the father-son duo enjoyed games in 29 of the 30 major-league cities.
In a telephone interview, Bobby Moore shared some of the highlights:
• Favorite ballpark: Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. “Part of the reason is that we got to go on a tour.” Chad MacDonald, a former Padres executive now with the Atlanta Braves, arranged for the Moores to go behind the scenes. “Chad took us down into the locker room, and we got to watch batting practice from the Padres’ dugout. That was pretty cool. Their stadium is just gorgeous.” (Read my 2014 Christian Chronicle profile of MacDonald, a member of the North Davis Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas.)
• Craziest experience: Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. “We ended up getting seats eight rows behind home plate for half price because it was 40 degrees and pouring down rain. We were both bunched up in our coats. We were just freezing our tails off. We laugh about it all the time. They played just long enough for it to be an official game.”
• More memorable trip: “In 1999, Easton was about 3½, and my wife, Jennifer, was seven months’ pregnant. We drove from Dallas to Chicago (to see the White Sox), then the next day to Detroit and then the next day to Cincinnati.” I have been unable to reach Jennifer Moore for comment. I kid. I kid.
Besides the Astrodome, Bobby and Easton Moore experienced a half-dozen other former major-league ballparks: the old Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Shea Stadium (Mets) in New York, the Metrodome (Twins) in Minneapolis, the old Yankee Stadium in New York, RFK Stadium (Nationals) in Washington, D.C., and Sun Life Stadium (Marlins) in Miami Gardens, Fla.
The father and son completed their U.S. tour with a Father’s Day 2014 game at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.
The final frontier, which they hope to tackle this summer: Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
“It’s been a great father-son deal,” Bobby Moore said. “When Easton was little, a lot of times it was about getting an autograph of a mascot or getting a foul ball or a broken bat or something like that. As it continued to grow, he’s taken over some of the planning — where we would eat, where we would stay — and it gave him ownership of the trip as well.”
But it’s been about much more than ballpark hot dogs or occasional walk-off home runs, the father said. He and his wife have tried to engage similar passions with each of their children, including daughter Kayden, 15; son Hudson, 9; and daughter Maddyn, 7.
“It’s time Easton and I could get away every year while he was growing up and build those memories,” Bobby Moore said.
They still haven’t seen some of the newer ballparks.
But they figure there’ll be plenty of time for that when Easton Moore has his own son someday, and they can start the tour all over.
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Your turn: How many ballparks have you visited? Which was your favorite? Your least favorite? Tweet me @bobbyross.
See a map of all the major-league stadiums at BallparkChasers.com.
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Coming soon: I’ll reflect on my own ballpark experiences.