Owen went to his first Nats game when he was about three months old. It was the year after Major League Baseball returned to DC, when the team still played at RFK. I was still on maternity leave from my job at the time, so with our tiny babies nestled in their Bjorns, a few other new moms in my neighborhood and I walked down to the stadium and took in a mid-week afternoon game on a beautiful spring day. I don’t even remember who they played or the outcome of the game, but I do recall it being a really nice, fun, easy day — sitting in the stands, enjoying the sports entertainment on the field, occasionally breastfeeding, maybe having a beer.
Obviously, Owen wasn’t even aware that he was at a baseball game (or much of anything else except his food source, for that matter), but I like to think that great day at the ballpark somehow stuck in his baby brain, helping make him the baseball fan he is today.
We’ve been to many, many Nats games since then. In fact, I first wrote about taking kids to ballgames shortly after I began this blog over three years ago and recommend them regularly during the season. And while catching a game now isn’t nearly as carefree as it felt that first day over seven years ago (there’s a lot more up and down for snacks and playground time and potty breaks), it’s still a good time and, dare I say, even more fun in its own way.
Part of that has to do with the fact that Owen is a legit fan now and genuinely interested in the games. He knows the rules, players, and ballpark traditions. And Sasha, while not as fixated on the sports aspect, likes knowing the whole drill and the excitement of the experience.
And then there’s their new status as MVP members of the Jr. Nationals Kids Club. Open to kids 12 and under, the Kids Club not only makes them feel like VIP’s, membership includes all kinds of great benefits: a free meal at the ballpark, an opportunity to watch batting practice from the field, meet and greets, a special line for Kids Run the Bases on Sundays, a coupon for buy one get one free tickets, Nats swag, and even more.
I purchased the memberships online early in the season, and the next time we were at a game, we picked up their kits, a Nats bag containing a book of coupons for all of the experiences, plus a Kids Club badge and lanyard, passport to be stamped for each game attended, a little stuffed Screech toy, and a bracelet. Both Owen and Sasha now bring their kits to every game.
This only cost $15 each (and it’s apparently a $400 value), which I think is a fantastic deal. There is also an option to sign up for a free Rookie membership that includes a membership card and lanyard, meet and greets, and special email offers. (2014 Update: Membership is now $20.)
The kids have already enjoyed some of the benefits, though have yet to take advantage of the Kids Run the Bases line — both Sundays we’ve been since they became Kids Club members, the loop around the infield has been canceled. But there will be many more opportunities to try it.
For more information about the Jr. Nationals Kids Club and to purchase memberships, visit the Washington Nationals website.
And let me note that there’s no disclosure to include with this post; I haven’t been compensated for this in any way. It’s simply a great offer that I think any little baseball fan — and parent of one — will appreciate.