I had the pleasure of introducing two of my "grands" to "America’s favorite pastime" a week or so ago when I, 7-year-old Logan and his 15-year-old sister all took in a South Bend Cubs game.
Not that they'd never heard of baseball, of course, but it was the first live game they ever attended, and we didn’t let the 95 degree temperature (with humidity making it feel like 100 degrees) dampen our spirits. It did dampen everything else, though, as before the end of the long first inning we were all dripping with sweat and over-heated.
I’d told them about the splash pad at the ballpark if we needed it to cool off and Logan said, “Gramma, I’m already hot.”
I thought it was going to be a really long game at this rate and wondered if we’d be able to make it the full nine innings. I told him to hang in there and we’d hit the splash pad after the third inning. Mercifully, after the visiting team scored twice in the first inning the second and third innings went quicker and I believe the Cubs had tied the game or were ahead at that point, so off to the splash pad we went.
Logan shed shoes, socks and shirt and happily cavorted with other children in the fountains of cold water springing up. I ran into a family from church who were there because their son was on a Goshen Little League team that was being recognized on field. I think it’s great that South Bend is recognizing teams from other communities.
I couldn’t take the heat anymore with this oasis in front of me, so I slipped off my sandals, dropped off my purse and ventured far enough in to reach one of the fountains and splashed icy cold water on my face and neck. After the initial shock it felt great. I inspired my church friend Amanda to do the same.
My teen granddaughter declined to partake of the icy fountains, and we let Logan play a little longer before calling him back to the purpose of our visit to Four Winds — the game. Thankfully, the innings went quicker and the Cubs maintained their lead and scored additional points.
I think it was around the fifth inning when the reason why we were enduring the heat versus attending an evening game came on the field — Nature Cat from the PBS show of the same name — was in the stadium.
Logan enjoyed watching the show at my house, so I thought he’d enjoy "meeting" him. We set out to try to meet Nature Cat and get photos together, but we ran into roadblocks. The Four Winds staff announced Nature Cat would be at the Team Store, so around the seventh inning we headed to its air-conditioned coolness, but no Nature Cat.
We didn’t see him on the concourse, either, so we may have missed our opportunity. With the heat and humidity the mascots were not as visible, understandably. At least we got to see him on the field and Grandma got pictures.
Logan didn’t have a mitt to catch foul balls that might be tossed his way, so I told him to use his hat. It was sweet seeing that little guy standing there with hat extended out to the field hoping for a ball, but it didn’t happen. Maybe next time.
Of course we all had hot dogs, cotton candy and toward the end of the game, when clouds came out to provide some relief, we got ice cream in helmets that Logan could take home, including one for his little sister. We also received souvenir Cubs clocks for the kid’s rooms.
My teen granddaughter was getting into the game and said she liked baseball and appreciated how hard the players worked. A 7-2 win made the game more fun as well.
At the end of the game, youngsters were invited to run the bases and Logan loved that. He sped around those bases — I'm not sure he actually touched any of them exactly but he ran them.
On the way home, I asked Logan what was his favorite part of the day was, almost expecting him to say the splash pad, Nature Cat or ice cream, but he responded “the baseball game.”
Guess that was a win for Grandma and America’s favorite pastime.
Denise Fedorow is a correspondent and columnist with The Goshen News. Her column, Not That You Asked, But appears every other week. You may reach her by email at email@example.com, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @DeniseFedorow.