[Note: This post is probably too long. However, Mike Tucker was a big help getting me to 1000 followers, so this story is a bit of a thank you to him. Also…big thanks to my friend Kari White for creating the box score below.]
It was in 2010 that me and my boys made our baseball pact. Alex was 4, so I figured he was old enough to decide for himself. Jack was a no-brainer. The three of us decided to try and go to every baseball park in the country together. We figured we’d hit one a year.
Shani was planning a girls’ weekend, and the boys and I started checking the baseball schedules. I gave the boys some options:
“We could hit a Yankees game and go with my friend Pete (who the boys love). We could do Baltimore. We could also head to Washington DC and maybe we could stay with my friend Mike Tucker.”
The boys emphatically chose Mike Tucker. They had no idea who he was, but their cousin is named Tucker and Tucker is a hellaciously good time.
“We want Mike Tucker!”
So I sent Mike Tucker an email. I promised him I’d buy him dinner as a thank you, and told him we’d be low maintenance. Mike Tucker wrote back and said he’d love to host us.
Now…Mike Tucker was not a close friend exactly. He’s close friends with some people who I’m close friends with – but he and I were never that close. I made sure he knew that I didn’t have any expectations of him to “host” us. We’d be totally fine on our own.
So that Saturday morning we hopped in the car and headed south for DC. My boys, as usual, were terrific on the road. We were so excited to be heading to a new place and to see a ballgame together. Plus we’re always so damn happy to be hanging out together that it makes car time great.
We got to Tucker’s in the afternoon and soon went out to dinner for pizza. Then back at his house, Tucker broke out a chess set and taught Jack how to play chess (I’m not kidding). The four of us had sort of a chess tournament before I put the boys to bed. Then Tucker and I stayed up until 1:00 drinking beers and catching up.
All honesty, I was a little nervous about hanging with Tucker. Like I said, we weren’t close friends and I’m not great at small talk. But I tell you, conversation could not have been easier. It was a genuine pleasure to catch up and to get to know him better.
Tucker had a king-sized bed on his back porch, and the three of us slept out there. That morning I remember waking up being so happy to have a boy snuggling up on each side of me. Then Jack turned over and blasted me in the nose with his cast (he had a broken wrist). We walked to a diner for breakfast. When we came back we found Tucker in the back setting up a badmitton set he’d bought at a garage sale. After hours of that, Tucker broke out the candy apple kit and soon my boys were so sticky they could have climbed the side of Tucker’s house like geckos. (At this point, my boys were full-on Tucker fans.)
Then we headed to the ballpark. Mike came with us, and brought along his brother, Rich, and Rich’s son. We found street parking and walked the quarter mile to the park.
Like all the new parks, this one was gorgeous. The railing and walls were gleaming white with red and gold Nationals colors everywhere. We bought Strassburg shirts and headed up into the stands. We had tickets in the first row of the upper deck, which was perfect because the boys could see perfectly.
The game? Hard to say for most of it. Jack sat there enraptured the entire time. He watched every pitch. Jack is a born baseball fan. In fact, we’ve left a few minor league games early and in every case had to literally carry him out kicking and screaming.
Alex…not so much. I think he’s getting more into baseball now, but as a four year old he had no patience for watching. He was there to get fed.
Click here to see the box score for Alex:
After the game we walked slowly back to our parking spots. It was just getting dark. I exchanged a big hug with Mike, and the boys said tired “thank yous”. Minutes later we were back on the highway headed for home.