It’s a sentence I’ve heard numerous times from my 3 year old daughter over the past year. It’s so ridiculous but said with such sincerity. When she utters it, I just want to laugh but I also want to hold her and tell her everything will be ok.
Let me explain. You know how baseball teams have mascot races at some point during a game between innings? The Brewers have sausages; the Nationals have ex-Presidents, etc. The Northwest Arkansas Naturals do it too, and last year they had some misc. food items racing around: a pizza, something else I can’t figure out, and a meatball. Here’s a terrible pic:
A round, cute, terrifying meatball. At least it’s terrifying to my 3 year old. She got a load of the meatball last year when she was 2, and I guess it left quite an impression on her because now when I mention going to a Naturals game, the first thing she says is, “I’m scared of that meatball.”
We haven’t had a lot of opportunities to go to Naturals games this season, but Saturday night opened up on our schedule, the weather was perfect, and we had a coupon for 4 tickets. 3 of the 4 of us in my family were excited to go. The 4th was not. “Daddy, I’m scared of that meatball.”
Being the sensitive father that I am, I did the only thing I could do: I lied. I assured her that the meatball was not going to be at the game. I said there were some new characters that would be racing this year, and they were very silly and nice and funny to look at. She was a little skeptical, but she agreed to give it a shot and come to the game.
We arrived at the ballpark and I took the kids to the playground behind centerfield before the game started. I’m glad I did. Apparently, it was Star Wars night at the ballpark, and several characters from the movie came out to throw the first pitch. I’m not sure if my daughter would have freaked out over the Stormtoopers, and I’m glad I didn’t find out as she was busy with the swings and slides and didn’t notice the Empire taking the field.
We got back to our seats as the first inning got underway. Things were going pretty well. I guess it was about the 2nd or 3rd inning when it came time for the mascot races. Turns out I was right: there wasn't a meatball this time.
Nope. Instead we were treated to this:
3 Eyeballs. 3 GIANT Eyeballs with painful looking red veins, as if they were on drugs or terrified of something themselves. And they began crazily sprinting from the right field bullpen to the finish line that was near our seats on the 3rd base side. They appeared to be coming right at us.
If you think those eyeballs are big, you should have seen how wide my daughter’s eyes grew when she saw this grotesque display on the field. Coming right at her.
I’ll spare you the details, but it took some consoling and bribing (ice cream, chips and popcorn) to get my daughter to agree to stay. But she was fine after a while and we managed to stick around almost 7 full innings. That's really good for us.
Now let’s see if I can get her to come back again this season. Maybe they'll have some severed heads racing on the field next time.