At least one of the members of my family is a super baseball fan, so we knew we had to go. We just couldn't let Ellie down. (Ha!)
The event was said to begin at 11:30, but thanks to the Baby Time Warp (in which time just seems to disappear, and all of a sudden you're like, "wait, it's what time? Where did that half hour go?!"), we were late. No worries, because they were waiting on one of the players and didn't actually get started until 12:30, so at least we weren't the latest. When we arrived, there was a Line #1 in the front of the Fan Cave, and Line #2 along the side of the building. We took our place at the back of Line #2 and made conversation with the guy behind us, who was a dedicated Rays fan from Tampa and had flown up for the weekend to go to all three Yankees v. Rays games!
Lines around the Fan Cave
The line consisted of both Yankees and Rays fans alike - even dogs!
Rich Thompson, Evan Longoria and an obscured Matt Moore
Longoria ready to throw some strikes
The set-up - you to throw a strike into that opening on the far right (behind the ladder)
Longoria's girlfriend, Jaime Edmondson, was also in attendance, and she LOVED Ellie!
We had been warned that because the Rays didn't have much time, those of us at the back of the line might not get our turn to meet them and throw a strike (perhaps the Rays should have been on time then, but I digress). However, once they started letting the fans have their turn, the line moved pretty quickly and soon Line #2 took over the place of Line #1. We were so close!
A couple of Rays fans waiting in line
As we neared the front of the line, one of the event coordinator guys came over and said they were stopping the line and the group in front of us would be the last to get a chance to meet the Rays! Luckily, Eric thought to think up and said, "But what about the baby?!" and hold Ellie up for all to see. And who could say no to a baby? So naturally, the guy relented and said, "Okay, the baby is the last one." We made it! Yes!
When we got to the front of the line, Ellie met Matt Moore. He even asked her name and spoke to her for a minute or two.
Ellie, Eric and Matt Moore
Then, she and Eric met Evan Longoria.
She's super impressed.
Eric had his turn to throw a strike, and naturally, he did. Unfortunately, I was too sidetracked to remember to snap a picture of his throw. Sorry, Eric! They had plenty of pizza left, so we all got a slice (even folks like me who did not earn one).
Ellie is going for that pizza. In about two seconds she's going to have a fistful of cheese and marinara.
The Fan Cave posted a video of all the fun, including a cameo by Eric behind Longoria at 2:21 and all three of us as they show the whole crowd! Ellie was right next to Longoria!
VIDEO: Go Rays! (Ellie is even in the thumbnail for the video! See her on the right?)
See the three of us in the crowd? Ellie is totally into Evan.
We ate our Rays pizza as we walked over to Washington Square Park, where we hung out for a bit.
Ellie's first time at Washington Square Park
We enjoyed some nice music...
VIDEO: Musicians in Washington Square Park
...admired some chalk art...
I thought this was beautiful.
...and had an overall nice time.
My sweet girl enjoying the day (I love her untied shoelace!)
From there we walked over to Union Square for a very productive shopping trip at Babies 'R Us. Then it was time to head home, because some of us were just plumb tuckered out.
Meeting baseball players is exhausting.
It was just one of those wonderful New York days. The weather was beautiful and there were such fun things to do and see. Every bit of it was perfection. This city is just the greatest place ever.
And, just for good measure, here is a picture of the cutest Rays fan there ever was, modeling her new floor mat we bought at Babies 'R Us on that perfect New York day: