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Bull City Summer

Technology fuels love of baseball

Posted June 14, 2013

It happened last summer. Figuring it was my parental prerogative, I'd been gently pushing baseball on my nine-year-old son Declan for a few years, and quietly despairing that he just wasn't into it. Then something clicked around June. Suddenly, he was mad for baseball – reading books, buying Topps cards and watching everything he could find on TV and his iPad.

We spent much of the year playing impossibly realistic baseball video games on the PlayStation 3. I grew up in Detroit, and we moved here from San Francisco, so we would usually play Tigers versus Giants. As it happens, those teams ended up in the World Series that fall. We'd been simulating that series all summer, and knew the rosters inside and out. I had to explain to him that, as a rule, your two favorite teams don't make the World Series every year. More like once in a lifetime. Maybe.

Now he's hooked on ESPN's "Baseball Tonight." It's on too late for him, of course, so he records it on the DVR, wakes up at 6 a.m. each morning to watch the previous night's highlights, then wakes me up at 7 a.m. to give me the highlights of the highlights. We also have a subscription plan so that, on weekends, he can watch most out-of-market MLB games on the iPad. Live. Wirelessly. On a 24-oz. digital tablet. Amazing.

I'm happy to report that all the tech has just fueled his real-world baseball mania. He plays in two different Little Leagues now and is attending a baseball day camp this summer. We get out to watch all the live games we can, and have recently discovered the area's burgeoning college baseball scene (Go Heels!). And of course, we go to lot of Durham Bulls games. In fact, Declan just had his 10th birthday party – at the ballpark, naturally.

As a baseball dad, it's incredibly gratifying to see all this play out. I find myself assuming the comic role of the grumpy old man – like my father and his father before him, I'm sure.

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