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Take a Little Pal to the Ball Game
James Ransom
June 11, 1962
All fathers love baseball and were good at it when they were little. (The average lifetime batting average of the average American father is .800.) Mothers hate it, though they were even better at it when they were little. All little boys want to be like—and be liked by—their fathers and are secretly worried about the ball game Dad keeps threatening to take them to. Get it over with.
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June 11, 1962

Take A Little Pal To The Ball Game

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All fathers love baseball and were good at it when they were little. (The average lifetime batting average of the average American father is .800.) Mothers hate it, though they were even better at it when they were little. All little boys want to be like—and be liked by—their fathers and are secretly worried about the ball game Dad keeps threatening to take them to. Get it over with.

Here's what to do, and what to watch out for.

BUY THE TICKETS. This can be done from the office, after coffee time, where it's cozy and you're in your element. Order the tickets yourself, but let your secretary overhear you doing it. She'll love you for it and will probably tell the boss, and he'll love you for it too.

(Caution 1: On no account agree to take the boss's son along. Many promising careers have been wrecked in this way.)

(Caution 2: Remember that the cost of the tickets is only a down payment on the evening. A good rule of thumb is that a kid sitting in a $3.50 box seat will consume $3.50 worth of hot dogs and souvenirs. On the other hand, a kid sitting in a $2.50 reserved seat will also consume $3.50.)

Once the tickets are purchased you can't back out since the investment is too great. Besides, your wife has already made extensive plans for her own evening.

WHAT TO WEAR. Lots of warm clothes, especially if you're going to a place like Candlestick Park.

(Caution 3: Do not decline to take along anything your wife suggests. She knows exactly what the conditions will be at the ball park.)

GOING TO THE GAME. Opinions differ on whether to arrive in time for batting practice. To a large extent this depends on how much of the actual game you yourself want to see, since batting practice plus a few innings of baseball is all your little pal can take. During an eight-game winning streak in the middle of the 1960 season, when the Pirate bats were booming, the average opposition hurler lasted 3? innings. The average father didn't do much better than that. On the other hand, if you get to the park early you won't have the tangle of incoming traffic to contend with, and your little pal will be spared several sharp comments in the early part of the evening. On the other hand, whether he gets these sharp comments early or late makes no difference to him, so you might as well suit yourself about watching batting practice.

WHAT TO BUY. Pillows, toy bats, toy canes, hat, baseballs, biographies of the players, a portrait of the club owner—plus anything and everything else your little pal desires. This is a once-in-a-life-time proposition.

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