You call it spring. I call it the dawn of a new baseball season.
And this new baseball season is a reminder of all the things that make this sport the greatest of sports. The fresh hopes. The sound of kids playing catch and the ting of metal bats striking line drives. The sun reappearing.
I love baseball. And, I love sharing baseball with my kids. My oldest son (6) has played one season of tee ball. He liked the sport, but liked socializing with his teammates even more. Even still, he enjoyed playing and will likely play again this summer. But even if my kids don’t ever take a liking to playing baseball, I’m introducing them to the sport that is—rightly—America’s pastime.
Here’s how I’m doing it.
- Take me out to the ballgame. Listen, taking your kids to a baseball game is inconvenient. It can be expensive. It’s a slow game. And young kids, especially, will struggle to follow what’s going on. But, each year for the last six, I’ve taken my kids to at least two games each summer. We pack hot dogs and sodas to keep the costs down (most stadiums allow this) and we typically last 6-7 innings, which includes several laps around the concourse. But these memories have become our family’s summer lore.
- The baseball glove. When my son turned four, I bought him his first glove. I hope to do this for each of my kids. I did more research than I care to admit, but I landed on this versatile Mizuno, which should grow with him till he’s 7 or 8. It’s a great starter mitt, just the right size for a small hand and won’t break the bank (~$30).
- Turn on the radio. I’m a big proponent of radio baseball. My dad listened to it with me. And, while doing yard work or making dinner, the occasional baseball game in the background is a great accompaniment. The measured pace allows me to teach my kids the intricacies of this beautiful game while we listen. The $20 I spend each spring on the MLB AtBat radio package (the top-grossing sports app, just FWIW) is perhaps the best $20 I spend all year.
- Say yes to catch. Playing catch is a terrific opportunity to get 1-on-1 time with your kids. I remember many spring and summer evenings doing the same with my dad. We’re still at the watch-me-do-a-Superman-power-throw stage, but I love it all the same. And, barring extreme circumstances, I try and always say yes when my kids ask to play catch. Very little is more important.
I know not every dad will agree with me. But, this is how I’m lovingly indoctrinating my kids on the greatest of sports.