Breakfast with the Big Train: Introducing baseball to a new generation of fans

by Rekha Leonard

Two-year old Joshua is typically in bed by 7:30 p.m. That makes it pretty hard for his mom Jennifer to bring him and his five-year old sister Lillian to Shirley Povich Field for Big Train home games, which usually start at 7 p.m.

But a 10 a.m. start time? That’s the sweet spot for a little kid who’s full of energy in the morning. On Sunday, Joshua and Lillian and tons of other kids their age flocked to Bethesda’s first of two morning games of the season for Breakfast with the Big Train.

“For years fans have come up and told me ‘We'd love to bring our kids to a game, but they're five years old. Their bedtime is seven o'clock,’ ” Big Train founder and president Bruce Adams explained. “Last year a scheduling mistake happened and we ended up with a 10 o'clock in the morning game. When you’re given a lemon, you gotta make lemonade. So we promoted it as Breakfast with the Big Train, bring your young kids who can’t stay up for the Big Train night games, and let’s get a whole new generation of Big Train fans used to coming to our games.”

The 10 a.m. game Bethesda held last year might have happened by mistake, but its success was undeniable. Families with young kids packed the stands and took advantage of the multitude of activities at the ballpark in addition to the baseball game.

“That’s what was so attractive about a 10 a.m. game start, we were able to get all the kids out ahead of naptime and bedtime,” Jennifer said. “Seven o’clock games are a little more tricky…so an early morning start was definitely attractive for a family.”

The morning was full of activities as kids got to check out a fire engine and ambulance from the Germantown Volunteer Fire Department parked on site and run the bases after the game. Families also received giveaways of Homer plushie dolls, boxes of chalk, and Just Ice Tea. And all the while, on the field the Big Train came from behind to beat the Metro SOCO Braves 10-6. 

Even if young fans couldn’t completely follow the action of the game, there was plenty of excitement for them. Many kids spent the game hugging their Homer dolls, eating Kona Ice in the stands, and jumping on the moonbounce.

“We appreciate the family atmosphere here, something great for the family to come together on a Sunday and do together,” Jennifer said.

Representing the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Jennifer threw out an honorary first pitch. Because of the early start, she got to share the day with her young kids, while still getting them to bed at their usual time of 7:30 p.m.

The first Breakfast with the Big Train event of the season brought out a new generation of Big Train fans. They will have another opportunity to join the Big Train on June 30 for our second 10 a.m. game with plenty more baseball and fun to offer, where the first 100 fans 10 and under will receive a Homer cake pop.

Get tickets to the June 30 game here.