Dos and Don'ts of sports

Taking your kids to a baseball game: A guide from a single parent

Here are the dos and don'ts of taking children to the game. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

I took my daughter to the Astros game recently. Usually during the summer, I like to take the afternoon off and go to day games. First, they are cheaper, and second, it’s just less stressful when there are less people in the ballpark.

We met up with a friend who has two kids, and the two adults to three kids ratio was difficult to manage. Parents with more than two kids are heroes. But an evening game can be fun with all of the excitement especially with the home team being really good now.

Having done the difficult leg work, I’ve come up with a list of dos and don’ts for taking your kids to sporting events:

Dos:

  • Do set expectations early about what you will and will not be purchasing at the game. For example: “I will be buying you cotton candy and a Sprite, because it’s Friday night and I’m a cool mom, but I will not be buying a $13 Astros-branded fidget spinner because, while I am cool, I know you will lose it immediately.”
  • Do limit yourself to two beers. For some reason baseball game beers seem to affect some of us more than regular home beers.

  • Do purchase cheap seats and then move down and sit in the 100 section. This should be a no-brainer, and I promise you the team does not care.

  • Do keep your kids engaged by actually talking to them through the game. I like to explain to mine what everything on the scoreboard means and who each of the players are.

Don’ts:

  • Don't take the train to the game. Many of you won’t have this problem as you probably live far enough away that it’s just impractical. I am a five-minute walk from Wheeler Station, so we often take the train. But when it’s 100 degrees outside with 80 percent humidity this is a poor decision. Also, you’ll be with the night train people when the game is over - less than ideal!!

  • Don't let your child run up and down the aisles during at bats. I cannot stress this enough. I wrote about this baffling trend a couple of weeks ago on Houston Sports and Stuff and it’s like Astros fans have been trolling me ever since. 

  • Don't let people make you feel like a bad fan for leaving a game early. The second inning of a recent baseball game was approximately 15 hours long. At 9:30 pm it was only the fourth inning of a baseball game that ended with the Astros and Twins not scoring after the fifth. I had an ornery 5-year-old who had spilled two Sprites and been awake for 13 straight hours.

Follow these simple rules, and you’ll have an amazing time at the game and keep yourself generally sane.

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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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