The Changing Baseball Experience

I am a baseball purist.  I am that person who goes to a baseball game and sits down to actually watch the game.  I don’t become distracted by all the other activities that one can do while at the ball park.

Before the pregame festivities, I am make sure that I get a hot dog, soda, score card and pencil.  I watch the lineups being announced, I watch the first pitch, and I sit down and watch the pitcher warm up.  There is just something that almost therapeutic about watching the game while filling out your score card.  It is relaxing and keeps your head in the game.

At Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, they have created what they call the outfield experience. This place has games, a smaller baseball diamond, a splash park, and a playground.  The first two years of the Kid’s life, going to the ball park was easy.  He didn’t realize what was beyond the outfield wall.  To him, the only thing that went on the other side of the fence was a home run ball.  This made it really easy for me to watch the game with him in the seat next to me.

Now that he is three, for the lack of a better term, the game has changed.  Not only for me, but for him. Our shared baseball experience was bound to change but I was determined to keep him from visiting the outfield experience for as long as possible. I knew that it was a slippery slope.  As soon as he knew that it was out there, he would not want to watch the game at all.  Going to be a baseball game would no longer be a shared experience but would become going to an overpriced amusement park.

Baseball Experience - The Rookie Dad

The first three innings of the Royals vs. Dodgers game was easy.  I was able to stuff his face full of peanuts and lemonade.  Being only three-years-old, he would only be able sit down for so long.  I didn’t want to resort to cotton candy too early in the game, I really wanted to leave that as a reward for being good. He was starting to get antsy as he did not like being stuck in his seat.

I caved.

I didn’t even make it three innings. We decided to walk around and there was no choice but to walk in the outfield.  The Kid immediately ran towards the playground. I can’t complain about him finding the only free thing to do out there.  However, part of me was frustrated that I was missing the game, and I was not even a fan of either of the teams that were playing. That is how much baseball means to me.

They were playing the game’s radio feed through the speakers, so I was at least able to keep up with the game.  I was still able to hear the roar of the crowd, the groan when the Dodgers scored a run, and I was able to smell the cooking hot dogs and popcorn.  I was still at the game and even better I was at the game with my son.

Baseball Experience - The Rookie Dad

It hit me about the fifth inning of the game, that the distractions, are what get the younger generation to the game.  It is what exposes that younger generation to the game.  It implants that vision of one day seeing their face on a big jumbotron as they walk up to the plate.

I want to pass down my passion for baseball to the Kid, I want to be able to sit down with him and be able to share the game with him, much like what my dad and I can do, and did the night following taking the Kid to the ball park.  If it takes a few distractions like a playground or splash park to get him to the ball park that, than that is what it takes.  We were still able to sit down for roughly half of the game and watch it together.  He was still able to stand up and cheer when the first baseman made a nice diving stop.

In the end, it is that shared baseball experience that a father and son are having.  It is that twinkle in the eye that your kid gets when they walk up to the stadium.  It is the ketchup in the corner of their mouths from the hot dogs and the sugar rush from cotton candy.  It is all about spending time together, building those experiences that your kid will not forget.  Those experiences will be what forms his love for baseball as he grows older.

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Lessons Learned from Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue

Disney has done it again. They had a great children’s movie in Planes and before the success of the movie even started they were already preparing their new movie Planes Fire and Rescue. This time however unlike Cars 2 they did not ruin the movie franchise.

Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue - The Rookie Dad

If you want my opinion, Planes Fire and Rescue was better than the first Planes. I believe that Disney hit it out of the park with this one. There is much more emotion and even brought me to tears when Dusty went… well you will just have to watch the movie for yourself.

Reflecting upon our viewing on opening night of Planes Fire and Rescue, I realized how much meaning there was behind this movie. There are many lessons to be learned and I hope that the Kid will someday fully understand some of those lessons that Dusty and his friends are teaching not just our kids, but all of us.

Life Doesn’t Always Work Out

For those of you who haven’t seen the Disney flick yet you might not realize it but Dusty’s racing days are over in Planes Fire and Rescue. Dusty has become a racing champion known around the world but in one accident, his racing days are over. Naturally, Dusty is extremely upset. This was all he wanted to be in the first Planes. He has no idea what to do with his life at this point knowing that he will never race again. Dusty along with the many who have already watched the movie learn that life doesn’t always work out. What you can do is the next life lesson that the movie teaches us.

If You Get Knocked Down Pick Yourself Back Up

Dusty has just learned that there is a way that he can save Propwash Junction in Planes Fire and Rescue, he can become a firefighter. He understands that this may the only thing he has left. Dusty understands that because he unable to race, he needs to do something to pick himself up, distract him from what is really bothering him, and save his home town and become a firefighter. He doesn’t let the fact that he can no longer race stop him from living his life. Much like in all of our lives, if you get knocked down pick yourself right back up and keep fighting. A lesson that many of our children teach us adults, but one as our children grow we must remind them.

Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue - The Rookie Dad


Learn To Grow

Since Dusty has no firefighting experience in the beginning of Disney’s Fire and Rescue, he knows that he that he has to learn to grow into something that he is not. It isn’t his ideal scenario in life. Even though he doesn’t know how to be a firefighter he does everything he can to learn how to be one. He isn’t doing this for himself he is really do this for all of his friends back at Propwash Junction. He is learning while growing into a bigger and better plane. As parents, we must teach our children to become a better person. It is quite possibly the hardest job we have as parents.

You Can Do Whatever You Put Your Mind To

When Dusty arrives at Piston Peak, he makes up his mind that he is going to be a firefighter. Once this decision is made, he combines all the three lessons mentioned above: life doesn’t always work out, when life knocks you down pick yourself back up, and learn to grow. Knowing that this isn’t how life was supposed to work out, he is tested as a firefighter and is knocked down in many ways as he is training to get his certification but he learns from those upsets and grows from them. Dusty puts his mind to it, he really wants to be a firefighter, not only for himself but for Propwash Junction and everyone at Piston Peak. In the end, it all… well again, you will just have to watch the movie for yourself to see how it ends.

Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue - The Rookie Dad


This was the first time that I actually dove into a movie to see what it was really teaching the Kid. Not only that, but Disney’s Planes Fire and Rescue brought a tear to this grown man’s eyes. This may sound like most of the Disney movies, but one thing that Disney has figured out that many other studios haven’t yet, is how to drive these lessons home to their moviegoers and make the movie truly family friendly. Take my advice, go out and watch Planes Fire and Rescue, you, your children, and your family will not regret it.

This goes without saying though, that this movie is in dedication for those first responders who put their lives on the line every single day.

How Do You Shave Time and Shave Money?

Let me tell you something, time and money are the biggest things that stress me out. There is not enough of either time or money. When I have money to spend, I don’t have time to spend it. When I have time, I don’t have money to spend. It’s a vicious cycle. That is why I am always out to find ways to shave time and shave money.

When Hot Momma and I started to look at our budget and find places where we could shave some money, we found out that we were paying $120 a month for cable. We started to look at the savings we would have if we cut the cord. By cutting the cord we are able shave $1500 a year in our budget. We aren’t missing out on much because we still have Netflix and we have an over-the-air antenna that we are still able to pick up broadcast stations.

When we cut the cord on cable as mentioned above, we discovered just how much mindless TV we watch.  By shaving the time we spend watching TV together brought our family closer.  We would spend more time outside together, playing board games, or doing some sort of activity together.

If you look at your weekly grocery receipt to see how much you are spending, you will see that a good chunk is spent on laundry detergent. We were roughly spending about $20 a month on laundry detergent. Being the frugal wife that she is, Hot Momma found a home made laundry detergent recipe that the Dugger family uses. We end up spending $10 to make a 5 gallon bucket of the detergent and it ends up lasting us an entire year.

Are you still with me because here is why I keep saying the word shave?

Looking for other areas to shave some money, I found out that I was spending another $20 a month on razor blades. Because of the rising cost of razor blades I would try and have my blades last me longer than I should have resulting in basically ripping my face to shreds. When I found the Dollar Shave Club, I found out that I could spend WAY less on razor blades a month than I was currently paying. Not only that, but it shaves time while I am in grocery store because I do not have to go and spend time looking for my blades because they mail them to you on a monthly basis.  I will be honest, these are some of the best blades that I have used.  It is such an easy service, just sign up, pick your blades, and next thing you know you have 4 new blades waiting for you to use.  Not to mention, some creative marketing on their part with the Bathroom Times.

Shave Time and Shave Money - The Rookie Dad


By now you are probably screaming at me to stop saying the word shave.  I’m almost done, I swear! You probably still aren’t reading this anyway.

Finding the places where you can both shave time and shave money is difficult. It was something that Hot Momma and I had to do because we realize that our spending was out of control and we weren’t spending time with the Kid as much. Not that we weren’t spending any time with him in the first place, but we knew there were areas that we could spend more time with him and there were areas we could really stretch our budget.  Whether that is from creating our own laundry detergent or by buying razor blades online. Honestly, if you looked at the places where you could shave time and money what do you think that you would do with the extra time and money that you would have?

By the way if you are interested in joining Dollar Shave Club just head over to join!

In The End I’m The One Being Punished

I am sitting at work networking with my colleagues from other PBS stations. PBS is a different world than most TV stations in the sense that we are always sharing ideas and I was searching for ideas and ways to make myself a better TV producer. That is beside the point though.

As I am sitting there emailing back and forth with someone and I hear my phone go off. I look over at it and it was a text from my wife. I wasn’t expecting to hear from her on this particular day because I knew just how busy her schedule was at work.

The text said “The Kid is in trouble! Got into a fight on the playground and punched someone”

Shock and disappointment rushed over me. Knowing that these behavior issues have been a problem at school with him I never know what kind of report I will be getting from his teachers.

Hot Momma and I begin to text back and forth about how we plan to punish him. Friday’s are his typical splash days at school and the teacher has already taken that a way for his behavior. We have told the teacher that we will back her on any way that she tries to correct the behavior issues and she is working with us as we try varies things at work as well. We decide he will definitely not get TV or get to play with his friends when we get home.

Later that night we are sternly talking to the Kid at dinner to make sure that he knows that punching someone is not OK. We make sure to tell him that we expect a stellar report tomorrow and suddenly one of us, I don’t remember who said this but if he doesn’t have one he will not get to go over and play with his friends tomorrow.

On the outside that might sound like we are just being good parents. Yes we are, however, what we forgot until about 5 minutes later is that the reason the Kid was going to go over to his friend’s house was because the two of us, Hot Momma and myself, were going to have a date night. Something that we desperately needed.

I wish that I could say that our date night was in the new Toyota Sienna but the car gods must be punishing me somehow because that won’t be revealed until tomorrow.

Date nights are something that Hot Momma and I do not get very often. Mostly because we don’t want to pay for a baby sitter. This date night as mention we really needed. We needed some time for just the two of us, something that most marriages lack. However, this night was jeopardy because of our kid. Naturally, because of his actions we are punished.

It might seem unfair that because of the Kid’s action, we have to be punished by not going on our date night. As parents we are tasked with making sure that our child has good behavior and will follow the rules. If that means that we have to lose out on our date night, so be it. We are being the parents that are taking responsibility for what our child is like.

(On a side note, the Kid did end up getting a stellar report and Hot Momma and I were able to go on our date night)


What Being A Dad Is About

I feel like I am going places in my current career, literally I’m going places. I never imagined that I would be a business traveler. I never thought that I would be spending a few weeks away from my family every year. That is what my career path has become. I never thought that I would be that person sitting in an airport, in a suit jacket, laptop in my lap, typing in a fury, all the while talking on the phone about work. On a recent trip, I stopped to smell the roses. I looked around me as I waiting for my Southwest Airlines flight. I am glad I did because I was reminded about what being a dad is all about.

I am sitting down in my seat at Gate 38, probably tweeting some colleagues who will be at the conference that I will soon be at. I am looking around and I see a dad, or I can safely assume that he is a dad because of the 2-year-old boy that he is talking to.

I don’t know this father and son, but being the people watcher that I am (I also wrote something like this a couple Easters ago), I watched their interaction. For one, I am a sucker when I see a dad and son sharing an experience together. I see this dad talking with his son showing him the airport. I see him showing the child the plane and different parts of it. I can tell by just how the dad the talking to the son, this is the boy’s first flight.

I cannot help but smile. I remember the Kid’s first flight and I remember doing the same thing with the Kid. There was an excitement in the Kid’s eye when the pilot waved at him. The rush of take-off as we soar above the clouds.

My son was calm during the entirety of our flights to and from Baltimore. But, I can’t help but think that this is partially because I built up our flying experience much like this dad was doing as I watched him with his son.

What Being A Dad Is About - The Rookie Dad

But this is what being a dad is about. Calming the fears, building confidence, and encouraging our children to be better human beings. It is easy to forget what our job as dads are. We get so caught up in trying to be a good dad that we forget what being a good dad is really about. I am just as guilty of this as I wrote about in a recent post. I did not calm the fears of the Kid has as he goes to sleep at night.

I wish that I could say that being a dad is easy. It isn’t. Sometimes it is leaving your wife with a sick child for a week to go on business so that you are a better employee for whomever you work for so that you can better provide for your family. Sometimes it is answering the difficult questions that your children have. Sometimes it is waiting up at night while your daughter goes out on her first date with a boy. Sometimes it is giving your child a BIG hug as they go off to college. Being a dad isn’t easy but it is those simple reminders like a dad and son sharing their first flight together that reminds us that this is what being a dad is about.


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