ARLINGTON, Texas — My oldest son, Brady, was 10 months old when his mother, Tamie, and I took him to his first Texas Rangers game in May 1994.
That was Texas’ first season playing at The Ballpark in Arlington, the beautiful new baseball palace that replaced the rickety old Arlington Stadium.
In a 2006 Christian Chronicle column titled “For love of God, family and baseball,” I recounted Brady’s first Rangers experience:
A few years later, I dressed my 10-month-old, Brady, in a tiny Rangers outfit, with team socks, a Rangers hat and red tennis shoes, and whisked him to a game.
He smiled and waved at everyone. But when the loudspeaker came on, a look of serious concern stretched across his face. At the singing of the national anthem, he totally lost it. Tears welled and major-league screaming erupted. He and Tamie retreated to a couch in the air-conditioned fan relations office. At one point, strikeout king Nolan Ryan strolled through to say hello to a lady who worked there.
Tamie was impressed. Brady was not.
Fast-forward to present day: My grandson, Bennett, is 9 months old. This past weekend marked his much-anticipated introduction to the Rangers. Brady and my daughter-in-law, Mary, dressed him up in Rangers attire and brought him to the ballpark.
Bennett’s Uncle Keaton and I joined them at Globe Life Park.
1. I always envisioned blue skies and sunshine for Bennett’s first game. Instead, a downpour greeted him — and us. But after a two-hour rain delay, the game proceeded as scheduled. And unlike his dad’s first game, Bennett seemed to have a wonderful time. (He did leave early because he missed his afternoon nap.)
2. Ironically, this is the final season for Globe Life Park — so Brady and Bennett had bookend first experiences there. A new ballpark with a retractable roof — Globe Life Field — will open next season, presumably with no more rain delays.
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Even before the game, Bennett went a little viral on social media, thanks to a photo his dad posted on Twitter:
Rangers outfielder Hunter Pence commented:
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A few more photos from Bennett’s big day: