So you are going to your first travel ball tournament? It’s not just about your player, practice, and positions. There are some things you should know….
- Bring cash. Admission for your player is free, but everyone else in your family over 6 will need to pay to get in. I have not yet been to a field that takes Apple Pay or credit (or bitcoin). Admission prices vary based on tournament managers, but you can target $6-8 per person per day. It’s cheaper than travel basketball.
- Find out where the field is located, and map it before you go. Maybe you will luck out and get the Factory, which has great parking and several nearby restaurants. Or maybe your best option for non-concession stand food will be the Subway in Oxford. Going back home between games may not be easy, so bring a book or magazine or your headphones. And a DVD player and movies for your younger (or older) child that doesn’t care about baseball.
- Bring lots of water and Gatorade. Whether your first game is in the beginning of summer or the beginning of winter, you (and your player) will need plenty to drink. And Gatorades at some concessions can be $2 per bottle. Plus, if you are picky about Coke or Pepsi or Cool Blue Gatorade, bring your own – selection may be limited.
- If you do not already own a chair, a collapsible wagon and a tent, buy at least one of these items prior to the first game. Showing up empty-handed to a travel ball game is a sure sign that your player is new to travel ball, so bring a chair and look the part!
- The other teams may score early and often. And there is a lot of stealing and running. Plus, many tournaments involve playing 4-5 games over 2-3 days, so you will see many runs scored and bases stolen. The other teams that you face are likely experienced and have played together a lot, perhaps even for years. You might luck out and play against a newer team in the first game, but don’t count on it. Even #12 says it can be hard to keep up with the pace of the game, so introduce yourself to both the person keeping score and another baseball mom or dad who is wearing a baseball cap and team t-shirt and have fun!