On Thursday night, my wife and I met a group of my aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and miscellaneous skells at Yankee Stadium for the team's third game of the season. The crew was noteworthy in that it included 13 children under the age of 11. In case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are 10 things to keep in mind. (If all of this seems absurd, that's because it is.)
1) Procure free tickets.
For Thursday's game, my aunt and uncle got free tickets from someone in their neighborhood baseball league. (It turns out that tickets for a rainy, cold, early-spring game in the Bronx aren't in high demand.) It's a good thing that they weren't charged for the tickets, because the rest of the night was an expensive proposition for them.
2) Bring a bag of Dum Dum Lollipops.
Dum Dums are a cheap way to keep kids occupied. Unfortunately, the little eating machines polished off the entire bag of lollipops on the train ride to the game.
3) Sit in the upper deck.
In order to give an unruly, sugar-infused group of children proper room to roam, head for the outermost reaches of the grandstand. Try Section 407A, near the right-field foul pole. Hold on...
4) Buy this huge popcorn bucket.
According to yankees.com, these buckets allow fans "all the popcorn they care to eat for $12." People complain about the Stadium's prices, but I think my little cousins found a market inefficiency in the Yankees' food service department. The kids refilled their bucket about 16 times. As an added bonus, the popcorn doubled as confetti when Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira partied like it was 2009 and both homered in the sixth inning. The popcorn had also proved useful as a makeshift tissue for my cousin Matt, who wiped away a bunch of snot with a handful of kernels during the fourth inning. The kids treated the unlimited popcorn like Homer Simpson treated the seafood at "The Frying Dutchman." I wouldn't be surprised if the all-you-can-eat popcorn bucket is phased out by next season.
5) Bring electronic babysitters, er, devices.
The adults in our party all agreed that it's not healthy to allow kids to play with wireless devices too often, but on this night a few iPhones did the job of four au pairs.
6) Remember that Cousin Mary has eyes in the back of her head.
With her infant Rose in a Baby Bjorn, Mary spent the entire game standing and talking with her back to the field. Either she watched all the action through the eyes in the back of her head or she just decided to boycott this lackluster Yankees team. Again, at least the tickets were free.
7) Drink lots of beer.
This crappy Yankees team drove us to drink. The dreary weather drove us to drink. And being surrounded by a baker's dozen of children definitely drove us to drink. On a related note...
8) Bring your uncle who's a retired cop with you, so that nobody gets arrested for child neglect.
Sure, some of the adults were drinking excessively. But some of the kids were eating excessively. I think that's an example of double jeopardy; we are fine.
9) Be prepared to leave early.
After Toronto scored to make it 6-3 in the eighth inning, we threw in the towel and headed for the exits. However, I'm still not sure if we left because the Stadium stopped serving beer or because the kids needed to go home.
10) Get ready for a few years from now, when your kid will be just another member of the popcorn-eating, iPhone-using, early-leaving army of kids.
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Follow FranT on Twitter at @frantweet and follow Brian Kavanaugh at @btkav