Raising Your Kids to Follow Two MLB Teams

“Sports bigamists” can make it work.

My family lives in a multifaith household. We’re all Jewish, but my wife is a Philadelphia native and Phillies fan while I grew up in Minnesota rooting for the Twins. We’ve chosen to raise our two young sons in both faiths—wearing shirts and hats and watching games of both teams, and sort of schooling them in the finer points of being a fan of both. What’s more important than individual teams, we believe, is that we’re all sports fans and can watch together.

So far this arrangement has had its highs and lows, with both teams serious contenders two years ago, but not so much this year. Watching Roy Halladay’s postseason no-hitter in 2010 with our then-nine-month-old son was among my favorite moments of my first year of fatherhood. But this April, when the Twins were no-hit by the Angels’ Jared Weaver, I swear our younger, then-one-month-old baby started crying the moment Weaver got the final out.

Nowadays, our two-year-old might not quite understand the game yet, but he always knows what sport he’s watching, lives for the five minutes of SportsRise he gets to watch each morning as I get his brother ready, and is fond of brandishing a toy carrot and calling it his “baseball bat.”

“Sports bigamy,” as Bill Simmons has called it, isn’t so hard with the Phillies and Twins. They’re not in the same division or even the same league, have no history of rivalry and they rarely play each other. In fact, due to the weird vagaries of the interleague play schedule, the two clubs somehow didn’t play for the first six years my wife and I knew each other, before they met up for a series in Philly in June of 2010.

So when I heard the Twins and Phils were playing again this year—right before Father’s Day, in fact—I figured a family trip to Minneapolis to see my family—and our teams—was in order. And while our older son went to one Phillies game last year, we decided this would be the first game where we’d take both boys, along with my parents.

After watching the first two games of the series on TV, we flew to Minnesota last Thursday, with tickets to that night’s game. Things got off to a bad start, with rain all day and forecast for that night. There was even a friggin’ hailstorm—in June—which served as just a wonderful introduction to Minnesota for the baby. I was fearing a rainout, or at least multiple rain delays, followed by either no makeup game or one in three months that we wouldn’t be in town for.

See, the Twins, for most of my life, played in the indoor Metrodome. That meant no fresh air, no grass, and none of the many other things that defines baseball, but it also meant no rainouts. When I was at eight, my dad took me to Chicago to see outdoor baseball for the first time, and our game at Wrigley Field was rained out. My response: “It sure is a good thing we have a dome, Dad!” But three years ago the Twins moved into the beautiful, downtown Target Field—picture Citizens Bank Park, only if it were located at 2nd and Chestnut.

Now I’m not sure what was less likely heading into the game—that the weather would stay clear, that both boys would cooperate, or that Joe Blanton would pitch a complete game. But all three somehow came to pass, with both boys lasting all nine innings as well.

Noah, our older son, even spent most of the ninth inning—about three hours past his bedtime—sprinting around the concourses, as if running the bases. Jim Thome homered for the Phils against the Twins and was cheered anyway, just as he was during the 2010 series when he homered for the Twins against the Phils.

The Phillies beat the Twins in both the game and series, but I was so thrilled to have three generations at the game and enjoying themselves—for the first of many times, I’m sure—that I didn’t mind so much. And yes, Noah shouted out “Go Phillies!” a time or two during the game, much to the delight of his mother and probably all of our friends and family back in Philly.

Nevertheless, being able to introduce him and his brother to their father and grandfather’s team—and seeing the smiles on their faces just about the entire night—meant more to me than a mid-June regular season result.

Say, the Eagles and Vikings are in line to play each other in 2013 …

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