Monday, 6 April 2015

Okay Blue Jays!

Today is opening day in Major League Baseball in Toronto and despite the fact that it snowed several times this passed weekend, surely this is a sign that spring is here and winter is very, very slowly fading away.

Even though the minions are beyond the age of bottles, breastfeeding and changing stations I felt more than a tinge of envy last week when I read an article that revealed the first nursery in MLB history being launched for the 2015 baseball season in Cincinnati.  Parents no longer forced to miss the game while they change diapers, pump or breastfeed in toilet stalls - the feeding suite has flatscreens so no one is going to miss any of the game.  In my mind this validates the space as, Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.

safeco field with babies, mlb with babies
Jack and I at Safeco field circa 2012

Chris and I pride ourselves on being active parents who try to socialize the minions by bringing them out to public settings.  That being said I remember countless times being forced to change diapers on the floors of public bathrooms, pumping milk in bathroom stalls and having to change both children because the availability of changing facilities in a men's washrooms are as rare as unicorns.  Often when public spaces, like Toronto's own Rogers Centre, have family washrooms they are few and far between and usually hotboxed with drunken baseball fans cigarette smoke.

I started my lengthy dislike of Ashton Kutcher a while ago, initiated by his show Punk'd and then escalated when his participation lengthened the run of the unbearably terribad show, Two and a Half Men.  Anyone who helps keep John Cryer on TV is in my bad books.  I'm actually shaking my fist in rage right now.  At this point you may be asking yourself what this has to do with public washrooms and sporting events, but stick with me.  Just over a month ago Ashton posted a Facebook rant about the lack of change tables in men's washrooms.  This post received over 245,000 likes.  He took this beyond slactivism and started a petition to get industry leaders Target and Costco to embrace the change first and offer publicly accessible family change stations for parents of any gender.  Target has responded, however Costco has not.  At this time more than 104,000 people have signed the petition. I appreciate Ashton for using his celebrity for good this time round.

In May 2012, Chris and I took the minions to their very first ball game at Safeco Field in Seattle. The staff was so family friendly that I couldn't get over it.  Chris and I were both stopped several times and given information on where the nearest family friendly washrooms were and Molly and Jack were both presented with certificates from the Mariners team to commemorate their very first baseball game.  We couldn't have asked for more for our first family baseball experience.

safeco field with babies, mlb with babies
Chris and Molly at Safeco Field.

Sadly our subsequent trips to Rogers Centre were not met with such fanfare (unless you count the smoke bomb in the parenting washroom that we had to walk half way around the stadium to get to). Does baseball actually want its' next generation of fans?  How are they going to get them out to games if they continue to make things difficult for parents to enjoy baseball with their families?  As we come out of a weekend where Montreal hosted baseball in hope of getting a team back perhaps it's also time for the league as a whole, Toronto included, to appreciate their fans by providing basic facilities to allow them to enjoy baseball after babies.  My family is ready to play ball, MLB are you ready for us?

For 10 Tips to Survive a Sporting Event With Preschoolers (and not lose your mind) click here.

For Tips on Surviving a Sporting Event with Babies click here.

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