Baumgartner Vaughan column: Day and night at the old ball game

Jun. 07, 2014 @ 05:33 PM

Last Saturday, I was at a baseball game at 10 a.m., and at a baseball game at 10 p.m. It was a great day.

In the morning, I sat in a folding chair under the hot sun watching my son’s T-ball team, named for a kind of shark, enjoy America’s pastime.

In the evening, my almost-done-with-kindergarten kid sat next to me at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. He didn’t even ask to go to the kids’ area. The Bulls staff put on a good show for fans aside from the game itself. The music. The dancing grounds crew. The many opportunities for clapping. Wool E. Bull shooting T-shirts from a hot dog cannon. I mean, really, what can beat that at a baseball game? Free bobbleheads, maybe. I almost caught one of those T-shirts, but as you know, when a T-shirt is shot into the stands, many hands reach out but one hand claims the cotton attire.

Speaking of things going into the stands, where we sat -- Section 210, terrace reserved, uncovered -- baseballs came our way a lot, even if it was just the loud thunk on the nearby roof. With every thunk, we all looked up just in case the balls came rolling over the side. They didn’t. My son asked where they went. I assume there’s some sort of gutter system up there. He was also quite entertained by a little pompom bee that was given out for free, courtesy of that game’s sponsor. “Busy buzzy bee!” he said again and again and again. Busy buzzy bee lost his antenna at one point, but he’s still buzzing it up at our house.

So, back to that morning’s T-ball game. The season’s over now. My husband was an assistant coach, his first stint, and I could tell the kids liked getting high fives when they made it to home plate. Sitting near the dugout, I also saw how much fun the boys and girls had together as they waited for their turn at bat. The last game was a few days ago, and I’ll miss it. The kids celebrated with cupcakes decorated like baseballs and fruit punch at the playground behind a recreation center. The parents drifted away toward home slowly, two months of a shared experience now done. I mentioned maybe meeting up at the DBAP for a Bulls game sometime this summer.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at dvaughan@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6563. On Twitter: @dawnbvaughan.