BILL DWYRE

Following tradition by taking in a baseball game with grandson

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"You know, Grandpa, you can't slide into first base."

"Yes, you can."

Casey's mother, superb in the area of quality grandchild-producing and useless in so many others, says, "No, you can't slide into first base."

Grandpa reminds them that he is an expert, that he sees many games every year. They respond that most of those are Angels games.

There is no conceivable response.

The seats are up high. Even Manny Machado couldn't get a foul ball up there. But the glove is never far away, and the view is perfect.

We arrive in the first inning and by the third it is time for hot dogs. Perhaps the first sentence of this column needs to be amended to read: As long as there are 8-year-olds and hot dogs, there will be baseball.

It is difficult, handling a hot dog, drink, fries and a Manny Machado foul ball glove. That prompts Casey to notice that there are no cup holders at our seats, as there are in other parts of the stadium. Grandpa tells him Grandma wouldn't like that because she is really into cup holders and buys her cars based only on the quality of the cup holder.

Casey looks at Grandpa, but there is no conceivable response.

The O's aren't hitting much, the Rays a little more. Grandpa notes that the Rays have one player named James Loney, another named Fernando Rodney. The scoreboard says Loney is batting .359 and when Rodney earns the save in the Rays' 3-1 win, the announcer says he already has eight this season.

Grandpa tells Casey he used to know players by those names who played for the Dodgers and Angels, but with those numbers, they must be different people.

Two innings after the hot dogs, it's time to try the kids' pitching and hitting cages in the stadium concourse below. The line features fidgeting children and moms with picture-taking phones. Casey throws three fastballs that register 32, 35 and 32 mph on the speed gun, then connects solidly on the three pitches from the batting machine.

"I love baseball, Papa," Casey says, en route to ice cream. "I want to play in the major leagues. Do you have to pay to play?"

There is no conceivable response.

bill.dwyre@latimes.com

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