August 6, 2000
Each year, before the season starts, my kids await the release of the schedule for the upcoming Diamondbacks season. No, not the game schedule. They are interested in the giveaway schedule. There becomes a near frenzy as the kids pour over the listing to determine when the coolest giveaway will be. At each date, they call “dibs” to ensure they will be going to those games that they are most interested in the freebies. Now Dakota is the youngest and is still quite naive. He still believes that you go to a baseball game to watch the game rather than get cool prizes. The girls continue to try and train him but the going is slow. When the schedule came out for the 2000 season, no one called today’s game. One look at the description had them all shy away from it. After all, who would want a 3TV metal lunch box. First off, metal lunch boxes went out with the Partridge Family. It would definitely be uncool to have one of those. Second, lunch boxes usually remind you of school and that is the last thing one of my kids want to try and remember. So this morning, amid the snickers from his sisters, Dakota got up and got ready to go to the game. Again, he could care less about the giveaway. He knew it was Sunday that that meant Bullpen Buddies. He planned on going down and hanging with the players in the bullpen and play in the dirt. As we reached the gates to enter the ballpark, the ushers began taking out the lunch boxes and lining them along the gates to give to the onrushing fans. As people began receiving these lunch boxes, they became excited. These were actually pretty cool. Dakota especially thought so. Now at last he had a place to store the dirt he was collecting from the bullpen along with a couple of Hot Wheels cars and the Bullpen Buddies T-Shirt he had just received. For the entire game, that lunch box kept him entertained as he opened it, emptied the contents onto his seat, played, and returned the contents back into the box. He would pause momentarily to yell encouragement to the Diamondbacks players and return to his play. He did not even complain that Armando Reynoso was pitching or that the game lasted over 3 hours. No, he had his lunch box and he was set. When we arrived home, he proudly displayed his new prized possession for everyone. Each of the girls replied with the same response, “Hey, that is cool. I want one of those.” To which both Dakota and I gave the same answer, “You’ve got to go to the game to get the prizes. You snoozed, you lose. Now quit whining like a Mets fan.” It is so rare for the men of this household to score, we have to savor the moment when it happens.