Ryno! Don’t Make Me Grow Up!

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This weekend, I went up to Beloit to see Ryno coach the Peoria Chiefs in A ball. His team sucked and he got thrown out of the game. That’s when the tide turned. My bro got more beer and we started to get surly. “You Suck Ump!” or “You are a bum Witowski, A bum!” or “Minor Leagues is for amateurs!” “Hey, Beloit Snapper mascot, get over here – I wanna show you somethin!” But could the real number 23 actually teach me how to be a good Dad? More observations after the jump.

ryno.jpg

This weekend, I went up to Beloit to see Ryno coach the Peoria Chiefs in A ball. His team sucked and he got thrown out of the game. That’s when the tide turned. My bro got more beer and we started to get surly. “You Suck Ump!” or “You are a bum Witowski, A bum!” or “Minor Leagues is for amateurs!” “Hey, Beloit Snapper mascot, get over here – I wanna show you somethin!” But could the real number 23 actually teach me how to be a good Dad? More observations after the jump.

ryno.jpg

The idea of the weekend was to get together with my Dad and my brother one last time before my baby comes in July. We decided to check out Ryno in Beloit as a nod to the many days of Ryno in our childhood. Remember when he single-handedly beat Bruce Sutter and the Cards? Or when he forced the Cubs to trade Palmeiro because Rafael was hittin it with his wife? Ah, good memories.

The stadium looked like a park district softball diamond and we were lucky enough to score 7 dollar box seats. The seats were shaped just like the cubbie you put on a chair for a toddler. No pun intended. They were very plastic. Very blue. Very uncomfortable. But they were 3 rows back. But we were under a net. Josh (bro) brought his glove because he a) wanted to catch a foul ball and b) get Ryno to sign it (it was a Ryno glove).

The Beloit team is part of the Twins organization. Peoria is with the Cubs. Ricky Weeks used to play there. So did Carlos Silva. Thanks weird guy with scorecard who sat next to us. But the whole point of this excursion was to talk. Really, it was to talk about being ready to be a Dad, what is going through my head, what advice I can get from my Dad. I really didn’t know if anything this weekend would help me, because I’m cynical that way, but I am happy to say I was wrong.

It wasn’t my Dad who gave me the great advice or life lessons. It was actually the Beloit Snappers game. See, it was family night at the park. So just going to the game and seeing EVERY person from Beloit with a kid in hand did the trick. There were 1 year old boys, 3 year old girls, 10 year old boys, 17 year old dates, newborns (yikes) and even a mascot turtle. They trotted out toddlers to throw off the mound; kids lined the bathroom urinals; babies screamed for Snapper the mascot. Even on the way to the game, we stopped at a gas station and some dude came in with a diapered baby and handed him to the cashier when he needed to get more cash out of the car. Bottom line – I saw several Dads. I think I can do this.

Now I have options. I can be the “PUT THAT DOWN” Dad. I can be the “IF I HAVE TO COME UP THERE YOU WILL SIT NEXT TO YOUR MOTHER FOR THE REST OF THE GAME” Dad. I can be the “LOOK, THATS THE YOUNG TEEN MARINES SINGING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM. YOU SHOULD BE LIKE THEM” Dad or I can be “CAN YOU HOLD MY BABY WHILE I SEE IF I HAVE 40 CENTS IN MY TRUCK” Dad.

In the 7th, Ryno got tossed but nobody cared. It was awesome because it was during the “Root, Root, Root” part of the song and everyone was singing. So he got tossed to no fanfare because no one was paying attention. He was all pissy and left into the clubhouse, never to be seen again. But who cares. I was fixed on what this one was doing, or what that little guy was doing or how that parent was dealing with that screamer.

In the end, we walked away from the park to our car, laughing and drunkin it up a bit when out of nowhere a ball slammed into a red mini-van next to us. We paused, looked down and picked up a Midwestern Association Baseball. It was a random foul ball that just missed our heads. So after all that – walking back to the car – we got our foul ball. But Josh never got his glove signed.

Note to Beloit Umpire: Ryno sold tickets dude. He’s a hall of famer. I know you are bitter that you have to work Dairy Queen every other day, but be cool. He wasn’t arguing that much. You just made the list. My kid and I, we will track your ass down. “GET THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. NOW”.

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