Raising a Mets Fan
When you are a parent who needs to send your child to daycare, there is a lot of unknowns. You spend a lot of time researching different places, but the information you want is not always available. For the most part, you are relying upon word of mouth, and you never know what the standards different parents have for a daycare center.
No matter what the case, parents everywhere have a problem with teachers not only bringing drugs to daycares, but them being so careless with them that they get into the hands of children. According to an ABC report that is exactly what happened at The Learning Experience in Whippany, New Jersey.
Aside from the obvious, what is really scary about this is the information was difficult to ascertain. When Googling “Learning Experience Whippany” this ABC report was not on the first page of results. What we did see was a Yelp review giving unspecified parent complaints.
On that first page, the results did pull up the State of New Jersey Department of Children and Families Inspection Reports on the facility. The incident where drugs were brought to the school and fell into the hands of children there are not mentioned . . . AT ALL!
What was there was a September 2018 Report which indicated there was a failure to conduct fire drills and even worse the center was not undergoing proper background checks and training. However, despite this, the State did determine the center was “free of imminent hazards/risk of harm.” Seeing what happened only months later, this report and that determination was laughable.
Now, this is far from the only day care center to have an issue. Last July, there was an infant death at the KinderCare in Whippany. When you check the New Jersey State records of the facility, THERE IS NO MENTION OF THIS EVENT!
How in the world is drugs getting into the hands of children and baby deaths not inspected or reported upon by the relevant state agencies? This is a complete failure by the State of New Jersey. It is not giving parents the information they need to make sure they are putting children in safe environments, and as we see, it is putting children in harm’s way.
This is a complete abdication of duty by the State of New Jersey. It’s bad enough they don’t shut down these facilities, but to not even investigate or report on these actions is a complete dereliction of duty. Fortunately for me, I don’t live or work in close enough proximity to either center for either place to be a consideration for my children. Like everyone else, I had to find this out by word of mouth.
That’s not remotely acceptable, and the State of New Jersey has some explaining to do. I’d imagine this is the same situation in other states as well.
Summer camp is a little over a month away. If you have your children in day care, you have the issue with having to label things everyday. Whether it is for summer camp, school, sports, day care, or whatever the case, at times labeling your children’s clothes and belongings can be a pain.
Personally, I have found myself rushing as my child is headed on the door trying to find a way to label something on the go. Typically, this involves me grabbing a Sharpee and scribbling one of my son’s names on something as we are headed to the car. As usual, there is a better way.
That better way is Name Bubbles, specifically the round labels.
The Name Bubbles labels are both dishwasher and washing machine safe. This means you can just stick the label on a shirt or a bottle, and you don’t have to worry about it. The label is going to be there when it comes out of the washing machine, dryer, or dish washer. Basically, you put it on once, and you are not going to have to worry about it again.
Sure, it is easier to use a Sharpee or something else, but if you have multiple kids that can be a problem. If you have an item of clothing or a toy with your oldest’s name on it in Sharpee, it effectively belongs to that child. You aren’t going to want to cross out the name or write both names. Instead, it is better to put a label on there you can remove later.
The bright side is at $22.98 you get 84 labels. That is a fairly cost effective option. As a parent, you rarely get the opportunity to combine both cost effective with convenience. The Name Bubbles labels are one of those rare instances when you can get a cost effective, convenient, and a reusable item. It is what makes it perfect for day care, summer camp, or for whatever other purpose you can find.
Editor’s Note: This is not a paid advertisement, just sound advice from one parent to another.
When I was growing up out on Long Island, your sports season was basically pre-determined. You played soccer or football in the fall, CYO basketball in the winter, and Little League in the Spring. Maybe it was just where I lived, or maybe it is times changing, but it seems now there are more sports available, and they are available throughout the year.
There are summer hockey leagues, and there are indoor winter baseball leagues. As a parent of a five year old, my goal is simply to expose my son to as many sports as possible to see which ones he enjoys the most and wants to continue playing when he gets older.
Going through this process, it amazes me how much some sports are better run than others and how much professional leagues are involved in some of these sports.
For example, when it comes to hockey, the NHL runs the Learn to Play program. For $195, a child is fully equipped with hockey gear, and they participate in a 10 week session guided by team officials. Part of that gear is your own personal practice jersey from that team.
Even if you don’t go that route, there is not one hockey arena which does not have some sort of NHL presence. Moreover, when you sign up for different hockey lessons, you actually will receive USA Hockey magazines. Inside are not just stories from American hockey league players or stories on college teams, there is information on different drills to do.
Hockey is not alone in reaching out to fans this way. In addition to hockey, my son if playing NFL Flag Football. That league, run by the NFL, teaches children the basics of football while providing a safe and fun environment to play. Without dropping names, it is interesting to see some former NFL players have their children participating in my son’s league (albeit in a different age division).
What is fun about this is the children receive a reversible NFL jersey. Also, similar to the USA Hockey magazine, there are weekly emails with different drills to do with your children.
This is much different than the Little League experience thus far. Just like when I was in Little League, you got a jersey which was identified with a local sponsor and/or color. I remember growing up, I was the light blue, white, and blue teams. It wasn’t until I was older that there were MLB like jerseys, and those needed to be returned after the season.
It’s also interesting there is no newsletter or emails from Major League baseball. Basically, you are leaving it to your child’s coach. From my experience on both sides of the aisle, that is the luck of the draw.
Really, there’s a disassociation between Little League and MLB as far as children are concerned.
To be fair, Major League Baseball has taken some steps with the Little League Classic. Last year, Mets fans got to see Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz watch a game with the teams participating in the Little League World Series. Then again, the game was broadcast on ESPN on Sunday night.
Often times, we discuss why children aren’t as interested in baseball as they are the other sports. There are many varied and plausible theories focusing on pace of play or time when games are broadcast. Lost in all of those is the fact baseball isn’t focusing enough at creating fans at a very young age.
Honestly, if not for me, I’m not sure my son would be as big a baseball fan as he is. After all, baseball makes little to no effort to make him one themselves.
Far too often, we lionize professional athletes. At times, they disappoint us, and sometimes, they lift us up. The thing is whether or not they know, athletes can leave a profound impact on our lives, and when that player leaves, it certainly hits home.
It hit home when Mats Zuccarello was traded to the Dallas Stars.
I’m far from alone. We saw Henrik Lundqvist break down when talking about it. There have been a number of Rangers fans upset as well because Zuccarello was a fan favorite. For me, it was a bit more than that.
My wife had a very difficult pregnancy with my oldest. When my son was born, he wasn’t a preemie, but he wasn’t far off either. When he was born, his Apgar score was two . . . two. Thankfully, he would be okay.
One thing about babies born this early is they’re small. It’d be a while before my son grew into the newborn sized clothes, even longer to get to three months. That left his Rangers onesies quite big on him. It was a slight issue because he wore them often.
Whatever the reason, during those sleepless nights as he slowly made his way towards that magic 10 pound mark, he really enjoyed hockey. He was on my lap during that epic Olympic game against Russia, and he was on my lap during that magical run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The ritual was the same. I’d get home from work and get him in a onesie for the game. We watched through all the ups and downs in that incredible run partially driven by how well the Zuccarello-Brassard-Pouliot line played. It was Zuccarello’s two goal game in Game 6 against the Habs which propelled the Rangers to the Finals.
That run would be the first time I bonded with my son on a sports level. He was excited whenever I celebrated, and he’d clap in these moments. Many of those moments were directly related to Zuccarello’s play on the ice.
Fast forward a few years. At three, we decided to sign up my son for ice skating lessons. The reason was as simple as he was bouncing off the wall, and we wanted to find him an outlet on the weekends. Ice skating lessons for his age were available.
At three, he was still one of the smallest guys on the ice. Even with him being smaller, he picked up on things right away. He continued to get better and better.
It’s been over five years since my son was born. That little guy has now more than caught up to the kids his age. He’s actually one of the taller ones, which is a far cry from where he once was.
However, with him having started skating earlier than most in my area, he finds himself as the little guy on the ice. The little guy in his Rangers jersey.
Admittedly, I do allow myself to dream. Sometimes, I look at that little guy with a left-handed shot skating through much bigger players, and I see the next Zuccarello.
After all, my son’s a tough little guy who’s beaten the odds, so if this is something he wants for himself, I wouldn’t count him out.
And I don’t count him out too because I’ve seen Zuccarello play. I’ve seen him overcome the odds created due to his size, draft status, and even his home country of Norway not exactly being an NHL hotbed. Despite all of that, he became a good NHL player. He became a fan favorite. He showed us all anything is possible.
This is what Zuccarello gave to me during his Rangers career. He gave me a bonding experience with my newborn son, and eventually, he gave us a role model for a little guy playing against much bigger players. He fortified the faith and belief I’ve always had in my son.
Honestly, although he never knew it, Zuccarello gave me a lot during his time as a Ranger. I appreciate it more than he could know, and I wish him the very best in Dallas.
Today is February 16th, which means it is two days after Valentine’s Day. On the surface, it would appear foolish to purchase Valentine’s Day cards today. After all, with the day having come and gone, who exactly are you going to give the Valentine’s Day cards?
Well, the answer is your child’s class . . . next year.
At the moment, the cards at different stores will be deeply discounted. Likely, you will see them for at least 50% off. If you are lucky, you will find a better deal.
The initial reaction may be cards only cost $4.00 for a group of 16, and as such, you can get cards for your kids class for under $10.00. If you have two kids, it is still less than $20.00. For some people, spending $20 on cards for Valentine’s Day is not that big a deal. That is all well and good, but the same people who treat $20.00 like a rounding error also don’t like to just throw money away.
Fact is you can get cards for not just this year, but you can also get them for the next year or two or three right now. Considering your children are in elementary school for six years, that’s over $120 for Valentine’s Day cards. If you child is in pre-school or daycare, that amount increases by an additional $60. When you look at it in terms of nearly $200.00, you quickly realize how much money you waste on those little cards other people just throw away days after receiving – if not sooner.
As for the cards themselves, in the day and age of peanut free schools, those cards are increasingly including things like pencils, stickers, and temporary tattoos. With that in mind, you don’t have to worry about the contents of the cards expiring. Really, you just have to be mindful of the cards you are purchasing.
On that front, certain things don’t go out of style. Superheros and Disney princesses are always in vogue. As for your child, you know where their interests lie, and you can purchase the cards accordingly. You can also purchase a variety of cards so as to not look cheap year-in and year-out.
Really, if you are interested in saving a buck so you don’t have to spend it later, you should go out today and purchase Valentine’s Day cards for your child’s class today. At a minimum, not only will you save a few bucks, but you will also have the benefit of not having the hassle of having to go get them next year.
In recent news former Mets great Al Leiter has announced he will not be returning to the YES booth for the 2019 season. With him leaving the booth, he is leaving behind a promising and good broadcast career which had begun when he was a player providing commentary during the 2003 NLCS.
During that NLCS, you could see Leiter was going to be a gifted broadcaster. He hasn’t disappointed in his time as a Yankees color commentator or as an analyst on MLB Network. Seeing his work, you knew no one was pushing him out the door, and yet Leiter has announced he is leaving.
The reason is his son, Jack, is a senior in high school, and he is committed to Vanderbilt. If Jack is anything like his father, his uncle Mark Leiter, or even his cousin also named Mark Leiter, he has a real Major League future ahead of him. If that is the case, Al Leiter is going to be in New Jersey doing work for the MLB Network, or he will be in the Bronx, or he will find himself anywhere where the Yankees travel.
That does not leave him much time to watch his son pitch during his senior season. It doesn’t give him time to give parental advice to help prepare his son for college or even the draft. It doesn’t leave enough time for him to spend time with his son because his son finds himself in places like Tennesse, whether that is for college or for an Appalachian League affiliate.
In his career, Leiter made approximately $68 million. He’s done a fine job as a broadcaster presumably earning a good salary. With his reputation and his relatively young age (53), Leiter has the chance to do this. This is all every parent wants, and Leiter has that opportunity. Good for him for taking full advantage.
When he’s ready to return, there could be a chance for him at SNY as the Mets have begun taking more of a look at the 90’s Mets team. We have seen Todd Zeile recently hired to replace Nelson Figueroa and Bob Ojeda before him. Sooner or later, we know Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling are going to leave the Mets booth.
Maybe, there will be room for a new booth with Gary, Leiter, and Mike Piazza. It would be the type of booth which could generate the same chemistry and cache with Mets fans. And who knows, maybe we will see Leiter calling games his son is pitching.
But before then, let’s hope the best for Jack Leiter and hope Al enjoys each and every minute of the ride.
At least one day on the weekend, my son and I will make breakfast together. Typically, this will involve making either pancakes or waffles. Not to get all “If You Give A Pig a Pancake,” on you, but if you give a child a pancake, they’ll want some syrup to go with it.
Well, one day, I did not check the fridge or the pantry, and after I made the pancakes with my son, I realized there was no maple syrup. While I didn’t have maple syrup, I did have a bottle of Hershey’s Chocolate syrup in my fridge. My son loved the chocolate syrup on his pancakes, and he loved it even more when we made waffles.
Now, the natural inclination upon reading this may be to question why you would give a child chocolate syrup for breakfast. Well, as I discovered, the chocolate syrup was actually the better nutritional choice. If you don’t believe me, take this into account:
|Mrs. Butterworths||Trader Joe’s Agave||Hersheys|
|Serving Size||1/4 cup||1/4 cup||1/4 cup|
|Sodium||150 mg||5 mg||20 mg|
|Carb||52 g||43 g||48 g|
|Sugars||37 g||42 g||40 g|
Looking at the information, the Trader Joe’s Agave is arguably better than the chocolate syrup as it has 10 fewer calories as well as less sodium and carbs. Conversely, Hershey’s has less sugar, and unlike the Trader Joe’s Agave, the syrup has some calcium and potassium. If you buy the calcium enriched Hershey’s, you will get even more calcium. That said, there still may not be that much to make that much of a difference.
What would make some difference is the Hershey’s Lite Syrup. On a 1/4 cup basis, that syrup only has 80 calories, 60 mg of sodium, 24 g of carb, and 20 g of sugar. The sodium does offset some of the benefits of a lower caloric or sugar count, but it is still not enough sodium to move the needle on it being unhealthy, at least as far as syrups go.
Ideally, you would make your own syrup using fruit, but for a variety of reasons including spoilage and expense, that is not always an option. More than that, it is the time to make the pancakes or waffles while simultaneously making a quick syrup. Many times, when you are a parent, you just need a quick way of doing things.
With that being the case, give your child chocolate syrup instead of maple syrup with their breakfast. It is the ever so slightly healthier option, and really, it is a much more fun option.
If you’re an older Mets fan, you are familiar with the neons which used to adorn the facade of Shea Stadium. With the move to Citi Field, the neons are now just a part of the carpeting of the Mets clubhouse. Quite possibly, those neons were incorporated because they are so uniquely Mets, and they are reminiscent of those 80s Mets teams.
Athlete Logos has taken it a step further with his Neon Project. The Neon Project takees different iconic moments from Mets games and creates them into one of the classic Shea Stadium neons. For example, here is one of the classic David Wright fist pump after he scored a key run in the game against the Nationals.
Since its #DavidWright Weekend I figured it would only be fitting to do a neon of one of his iconic moments as Met. The fist pump against the Nationals was a great example of who David Wright was as a player. #LGM #NYMNeonProject #ThankYouDavid pic.twitter.com/evV03CLipb
— Athlete Logos (@athletelogos) September 28, 2018
Being a fan of the Neon Project, I reached out to Athlete Logos to see if he could do it for more than just Mets moments. He was not only able, but he was more than willing. In order for him to do the work, all I needed to do was to provide the picture.
For me, the choice of the picture was easy. Last year, my son began playing t-ball. In his first ever at-bat, he would hit a home run. It was a proud moment for me as a father, and I was thrilled I had both photos and videos of it. Being the huge Mets fan I am, I wanted to take it a step further.
With the neon, I have been able to do a t-shirt for my son, which he loves. I also got an ornament for my Christmas tree, and some gifts for relatives this Christmas in the form of ornaments, magnets, or those Shutterfly photo plaques. No matter what the medium, they have printed great, and I have no issues whatsoever.
Overall, it has proven to be a fun one to encapsulate one of my fondest baseball memories, and it is something I highly recommend other people do. If you are interested, and you should be, you can begin the process to emailing Athlete Logos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Note: This is not a paid advertisement or endorsement. Rather, this is just my being satisfied with the work product and recommending it to other people.
When you operate a blog, when you observe everything that happened today at Citi Field, the last thing you want to be is overwhelmed by the moment. But when it comes to David Wright how could you help but be overwhelmed.
As a diehard fan who watches nearly every game, beginning on July 21, 2004 until May 27, 2016, in some, way, shape, or form, Wright was a part of your everyday life.
The hits. The catches. The wins. The losses. Sadly, the injuries.
From February until October, Wright was there. The best thing about my favorite baseball team. The one thing worth loving from a team who did not always deserve the love and respect.
To pick a favorite moment is nearly impossible.
The bare-handed catch in San Diego. Diving into the stands in Seattle. The classic bare-handed play with which he’s become synonymous.
Putting on a show in the Home Run Derby with Paul Lo Duca firing in darts. Homering in his first All Star at-bat. Starting and playing third at the first All Star Game played at Citi Field. Any of his seven All Star appearances.
The 30/30 season. Gold Gloves. Silver Sluggers. Being the first Met to homer at Citi Field.
Homering in his first at-bat back of the DL. The slide in Washington. The RBI single and fist pump in the NLDS. Staring at the World Series logo on his cap at Wrigley Field. The home run:
As much joy as there was, there is a sadness.
The epic 80s type run we all expected never materialized. It wasn’t due to Wright’s lack of trying.
Wright would be the only Met to deliver an RBI in Game 7. In September 2007, he hit .352/.432/.602. In September 2008, he hit .340/.416/.577. He homered off Yordano Ventura. More than any of that, he stayed.
Because he stayed, we watched on as his body failed him. It robbed him not just of a chance to go out there and play, but it was enough to cost him a chance at a ring and possibly much more.
With his body failing, we got to see what made Wright truly great. His integrity, hard work, dedication, and love of baseball were on full display. Make no mistake. Unless Wright possessed all of these qualities, especially the love of baseball, we would not have seen him continuously fight his way back despite the injuries and the surgeries.
If nothing else, Wright earned the opportunity to step back onto the field and end his career on his terms instead of in a trainer’s room. He earned that not just by the rehab and work he put in to return, but because of who he is and what he means to the franchise.
While Wright was thinking of sharing the moment with his daughters, I was thinking of sharing it with my sons. It was important for me to share the moment with them. After all, we’re Mets fans, and as Mets fans we love David Wright.
Certainly, poor Peter O’Brien missed the memo as he caught a Wright foul out in the fourth. For that crime, he will be forever mercilessly (and good-naturedly?) booed every time he returns to Citi Field.
With the foul out, you were left hoping and praying for just one more at-bat. Even an inning in the field. It wasn’t to be as Mickey Callaway made the switch.
Wright left the field to the adoration of Mets fans everywhere. Really, it’s remarkable how loud everyone was as they were all fighting through the tears.
A brilliant career in which he set many records and became arguably the second best player in Mets history was now over, and even with fans having over two years to prepare, none of us were.
We can say it’s time to find a new face of the Mets. It’s possible there will be another captain. But, there will never be another David Wright.
I count myself lucky for watching Wright’s entire career. I cherish the fact I got to share the experience with my father and brother, but also now my sons.
To me, in the end, this is what baseball is all about – the shared experience across generations.
There will be other players and other moments we can all share. Short of a World Series, it’s going to be next to impossible to top David Wright’s career.
In some ways, it’s sad to see that go. In others, there’s joy in having been able to experience it. Mostly, it’s gratitude.
Thank you for everything David Wright. You are loved by Mets fans, and you will never be forgotten.
One surprising thing popped up on my son’s school calendar. It was to wear red, white, and blue for what is being referred to there as Freedom Day. Having lived through the events of 9/11 and dealing with my own fears and loss due to the terrorist attacks, it just struck me as odd that 18 years later, children would wear red, white, and blue to celebrate America. Odd, but good.
What also strikes me as odd is how Major League Baseball continues to not permit the New York Mets to wear the First Responders caps during the games played on 9/11. Ultimately, when we talk about how we get from devastating terrorists attacks to children honoring America, the First Responders caps were an important part of the story.
It meant a lot to New Yorkers to see the New York Mets wear those caps. We all shed a tear as John Franco wore an FDNY cap in honor of his fallen friend as he earned the win in the first game back after the attacks. There was not a dry eye anywhere when Mike Piazza hit that home run off Steve Karsay to win the first game played in New York after 9/11.
Wearing the caps was the brainchild of Todd Zeile. He defied Major League Baseball and encouraged his team to do the same. They all did it playing at Shea Stadium, a place that was a staging ground for the recovery and relief efforts. He had the full support of his manager Bobby Valentine, and yes, his ownership, who have unsuccessfully petitioned Major League Baseball to wear the caps during a game.
What remains odd is how fearful Major League Baseball is that another Mets player will defy them like Zeile once did. In fact, as R.A. Dickey once pointed out, Major League Baseball has threatened severe fines against players who choose to defy them, and they have taken the steps to collect the caps from the dugout and clubhouse after batting practice. This isn’t normal behavior.
In that sense, it’s odd. Across the country, schools are honoring America. Adults are taking time to remember, and some of us still mourn. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is making sure teams don’t infringe on a licensing deal because somehow allowing the Mets to wear First Responder caps is a bad thing for Major League Baseball and New Era.
Really, in 18 years, it’s just plain shocking no one sat across the table and figured this out. There could have been some sort of happy medium wherein either New Era makes the caps, or that they create a new cap to both honor the fallen while keeping in the spirit of the licensing agreement.
Instead, Major League Baseball will go out of their way to announce the Mets will wear the caps during batting practice, which as we have learned, you are not required to wear officially licensed gear. In their minds, they probably think they are offering a best of both worlds solution. They’re wrong.
The shame of it is as we become further removed from 9/11, the more we move about our everyday lives. In the 18 years since, we have graduated from school, gotten married, and started families. For those of us who remember, we also have to remember work and running a household. Moreover, we have to get our children ready for days like “Freedom Day.”
So in different places in America, we’re mourning and honoring while Major League Baseball is forgetting and enforcing.