Raising a Mets Fan
Since Citi Field opened, I’ve been to a countless number of games. It’s fewer than the games I’ve attended at Shea, but still I’ve attended many games at Citi. Tonight, I made the conscious decision to enjoy the park.
Honestly, I made that decision based for two different reasons. The first was the lineup was Nori Aoki–Jose Reyes–Asdrubal Cabrera. Once again, that lineup signals the Mets have completely lost focus on their primary objective, which is to develop and find out about their young players.
The second was when I entered Citi Field with my son, and he was interviewed by SNY:
After that, I made it to the starts because I wasn’t going to miss Noah Syndergaard‘s first “start” off the Disabled List.
It was a glorious return with him hitting 99 MPH on the gun while facing the minimum. Once Daniel Murphy grounded into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play, Syndergaard’s night was over.
He looked great, and he left the game without issue. It was certainly a highlight.
From there, the Mets went to Matt Harvey. It was Harvey’s first career relief appearance even if he was really the scheduled starter.
In Harvey’s first inning of work, he looked like the Harvey of old. The velocity was there. The slider was moving. It was great to watch, but knowing how he’s pitched this year, I knew it was fleeting, so it was time to re-embark and walk around the ballpark starting with the dunk tank
Of course, that made him want a snack, so we continued our tour around the ballpark.
Before grabbing his snack, we settled on popcorn in a helmet.
After watching a few innings, we ventured back out because he wanted an Amed Rosario shirsey. Even though Yoenis Cespedes is his favorite player, he reminded me he already has a Cespedes shirt. Because I was swept up in the moment, and I had a coupon, I got swept up in the moment
Rosario shirsey in tow, my son not only wanted to play baseball again, but he was feeling a bit cocky:
We were in our seats for the next few innings including the seventh inning stretch. With all the running around and with it being well past my son’s bedtime, he only made it through the ninth.
He was drifting, and I thought it cruel to have him awoken by fireworks. As I entered the car, I did hear the fireworks start. Unfortunately, it was in the form of a Murphy 10 inning game winning off Jacob Rhame.
Overall, I really appreciated going around the park with my son. Citi Field really is a great place to take a kid to a game. It would be even better with a better team or with an organization that cared about developing their young players in times like these.
Before addressing the horrible incident at Yankee Stadium, I have a personal story, one that did not end in tragedy.
With the Yankees playing the Rays at Citi Field, I took advantage of the cheap tickets, and on the spur of the moment, I went to the game with my son. The seats were excellent.
If it was just me at the game, it would not be an issue. However, it wasn’t just me. I was there with my son. He loves baseball games, but at three, he’s not fully capable of paying full attention to the game.
When I’m there with him, I’m not either. I spend most of my time fishing for juice boxes, snacks, or napkins. When I’m not going that, I’m leaning down to describe what’s happening in the game to him.
That leaves me susceptible to getting hit with a line drive. Even worse, my son could get hit. Knowing the power players like Lucas Duda possess, I had little choice but to move my seats.
With the upper tiers being closed off and ushers no longer allowing fans to freely move to different sections to open seats, my options were much more limited than what they would’ve been when I was three. Still, I didn’t give up, and I eventually found an usher willing to let us sit elsewhere with the caveat if the fans who had those seats appeared, I would move.
Was I as close to the action? Not even close, but my son was much safer. As a parent, that’s my number one responsibility.
This is not to say the parent of the toddler at the Yankee game yesterday was a bad parent, or that I’m a better parent. Rather, under similar circumstances, I was much more aware of the risk. It’s why my child would have been nowhere near a Todd Frazier foul ball.
Child gets hit by a foul ball at Yankees game. The players' reactions say it all. pic.twitter.com/YIyaBJq7tT
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 20, 2017
It’s a horrible situation that just leaves you sick for everyone involved – especially, the little girl and her parent. Thank God that little girl was alright.
Understandably, it has led to renewed calls for extended netting in baseball stadiums. This despite, in the entire history of baseball, just one fan being killed as a result of being struck by a foul ball.
There have been professional baseball games played since 1846 when the New York Nine beat the New York Knickerbockers at the Elysian Fields.
Simply put, while what happened was horrible, it was an anomaly. Watching a baseball game is not an inherently dangerous activity.
With the images of the young girl getting hit, many people don’t want to listen to reason. They want action. They want netting instead of choosing to be responsible with their seating choice. They want netting so they don’t have to pay full attention to the game. If they want rules to address the abdication of personal responsibility, let’s make the rules to address that situation.
Similar to an airplane, you’re restricted from using all electronic devices. If you’re in an area with no netting, you’re not permitted to use an electronic device during game action. If you’re caught using them, you’ll be ejected from the ballpark.
Also, all vendors, including the beer vendors, will only be allowed to walk the aisles between innings.
Like with roller coasters, if you’re not a certain height or age, you’re not permitted to sit in field level seats not protected by netting.
Really, since you’re there to watch a baseball game, these rules shouldn’t be an issue at all.
Overall, what happened yesterday was horrible, but it was avoidable. Some would say it would’ve been avoidable with the netting, and maybe they’re right. It’s also right to say no toddler should have been sitting in that area.
Personally, I agree this incident should be a call to action. Unlike most, I want that action to be the acceptance of personal responsibility and not more netting.
With the Mets selling at the deadline, we saw them call up young players to begin building for the future. That meant players like Jay Bruce, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Addison Reed, and Neil Walker were gone. In their stead are young players like Amed Rosario, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Jamie Callahan, Jacob Rhame, Gavin Cecchini, Kevin McGowan, and Tomas Nido.
With that, you knew the team was going to be young, but his young?
— Kevin McGowan Jr (@kevinmcgowanjr) September 15, 2017
Wow. I expected a younger group, but not ones that were dressed up in rompers like my then nine month old son.
It seems that with the Mets recent youth movement, my son is closer to majors than I initially believed:
In life, we tend to get attached to and attribute meaning to bizarre things. Today, that was my car.
Now, I hated that car. From day one, it was a nightmare. I sank more money into it than I care to admit. Driving into bad neighborhoods time and again, it was constantly dinged and scratched. Tires blown. Dents in the car. Really, I hated it.
But you know what I didn’t hate? All the great things I did with the car.
What started out as a car I purchased to commute to and from work became the family car.
It was the car I drive with my wife to Pre-Cana. The day after our wedding, my wife and I drove home for the first time.
I drove that car with my then infant son to and from doctors appointments. That includes when I had to take him for emergency room visits, and one day his surgery.
We took that car to take him for his first day of school, his first Mets game, his ice skating classes, soccer practice, and on family vacations. We drove that car to places where we would share some of our favorite memories as a family. We drove that car everywhere.
Every so often, he liked to get in the front seat and pretend to drive just like his daddy:
I didn’t realize it at first, but there were hints of all those moments scattered throughout the car. I realized this as I cleaned it out today so I could trade it in for the new family car. In some ways, it felt like a moment right out of The Wonder Years.
As we cleaned out the car, there were remnants of these events. Just like we had done a thousand times, we listened to the Mets game on the radio.
You couldn’t pick a more appropriate starter than Rafael Montero. First terrible, but now you see him in a whole new light.
This is because Montero has been a much better pitcher of late. We saw it again from him today. He cruised through five innings allowing just the one run.
It was the sixth he got into trouble. Like his last start, he put his bullpen into a tough situation handing them a bases loaded one out situation. Unlike AJ Ramos, Paul Sewald, who hadn’t pitched in eight days due to some physical issues, allowed all the inherited runners to score.
Fortunately, it didn’t matter much because the Mets offense exploded against Mark Leiter.
Most of the damage came in a six run fourth inning. Even with him not hitting lead-off, Brandon Nimmo got it all started with a single. Four hits, including a Juan Lagares double and Gavin Cecchini RBI single, and an error later the Mets were up 9-0, and the Phillies brought in Kevin Siegrist.
After Siegrist issued a couple of walks, Nimmo capped off the inning with an RBI single. That single gave the Mets a then 10-0 lead.
It proved to be an insurmountable lead. That was true even for the hurt Sewald and Hansel Robles, who had another adventurous outing.
It was the Robles outing that had me sitting in my car just a little longer. I sat in my car a little longer like I had done several times in the past. Except this time was the last time in this car.
As Ramos got Rhys Hoskins to fly out to end the game, I had the last memory in that car. It was a rather small one, but a memory nevertheless.
It’s now time for a new car with new family memories. This will be the car I take my next son home from the hospital in. It’ll be the car I take to drive him to his first Mets game. Hopefully, it will be the car I drive to see the Mets in their next World Series.
Game Notes: Kevin Plawecki was 2-4 with two runs and a stolen base.
When we found out my wife was expecting with our second child, we wanted to do something fun with our son, sorry older son, for him to find out if he was going to have a little brother or a little sister. We debated doing a cake or balloons, but ultimately with the recent fad of gender reveal golf balls and baseballs, we decided to go that route with him.
The issue is those things are unnecessarily expensive. On Amazon, they range from $15 – $30. On Etsy, the price range all over the place, and even for those options that seem cheap, they cease to be as such when you consider the hidden shipping costs. Reading review of these items, the balls are flimsy, and as we’ve seen on YouTube, you are setting yourself up for a wasted moment. The last thing we wanted was to buy an overpriced baseball, have our son swing and miss, and then miss our opportunity to do something fun with him. To that end, we decided to attempt to make our own gender reveal baseball.
The baseball part is quite easy. First, we went to Party City, and for $1.00, we purchased one of those globes they sell you to fill with their penny candy. I recommend the clear globe because it is easier to paint. For the pain, we went to Michaels and purchased acrylic paint for less than a buck. We also splurged for a small paint brush for under a buck. Just like that, we had our own baseball for less than $3.00.
After painting the baseball and setting it to dry overnight, my wife drew seams on the baseball using a red Sharpie. Really, any magic marker would do the trick. What was tricky was what to put in the ball.
If you Google it, you can find a number of ways to make your own holi powder. For us, we mixed food coloring with one cup of water. We then mixed that with three cups of flour. You need to use your hands for this to help prevent clumps from forming. It’s a tedious process. After you are done, put it on a couple of baking sheets in the oven at 200 degrees. Do not go above that because you risk burning it and turning it brown.
If you don’t want to do that, you can purchase it somewhere on the Internet or pick up the powder or confetti from somewhere.
Once you put it in there, you have a cheaper option and one that is not going to simply explode just by hitting the ground. Still, with the impact of a baseball bat, the ball will easily come apart, and the powder will spray all over the place revealing the baby’s gender.
IT’S A BOY!
My three year got a hold of my laptop when I stepped out of the room, and here’s his thoughts on the Mets:
I’m sure many will say this is the best thing ever published on this blog. I tend to agree.
With my son heading in for surgery yesterday, I unabashedly asked for people to say a prayer for him:
My little buddy is going in for surgery this afternoon. If you have time today, please say a little prayer for him. Thank you.
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) July 14, 2017
The response was overwhelming, and l tried to reach out to all those who reached out. If I missed it, I apologize. It was a mixture of exhaustion and sheer volume of the responses. If I did not thank you personally, please accept this as my genuine personal thanks.
I can happily report the surgery was successful, and there will be a quick and speedy recovery.
Again from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your prayers. They worked.
This past week my Dad turned 70 years old. It is because of him that my brother and I have been lifelong Mets fans. For that, I’m not sure to thank him or to curse him. All joking aside, some of my fondest memories with my Dad have involved baseball.
There were the Mets games through the years. We were there for Robin Ventura‘s Grand Slam single. We saw Todd Pratt‘s homer ending the 1999 NLDS. We were there a year later as Bobby Jones propelled the Mets to the 2000 NLCS. There was the last game at Shea Stadium, and the first game at Citi Field.
We saw Matt Harvey come so close to pitching a no-hitter against the White Sox. We loved see Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero have their first ever start at Citi Field in the 2013 Future’s Game. Our favorite moment at a Mets game hands down was Game 3 of the 2015 World Series.
But it was more than the Mets games. There were the catches he used to have with my brother and I in the backyard. There was him throwing pitches to help try me to become a catcher. There were the times, he would throw batting practice to my brother and I.
When it came time to give him a gift, my family wanted to give him more than a present. We wanted to give him a memory that would at least rival the fond memories we had of him. With us not having 499 friends to invite to a Mets game, or the money to purchase those tickets, that left us with the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Brooklyn in and of itself was fitting. It was the place he would commute over an hour each way in order for him to support our family, to put my brother and I through school.
After speaking with the Cyclones, Joe Senis specifically, we were able to arrange for my father to throw out the first pitch before Saturday’s Cyclones game. Not just that, but at my Dad’s request, they allowed his grandson to take the mound with him (and throw out a pitch of his own):
Personally, I think they both did a great job:
Also, great job by Kurt Horne catching both of those pitches and for taking a brief moment to shake my Dad’s and my son’s hands. It was also great Edgardo Alfonzo, one of my Dad’s favorite Mets, gave us his autograph.
That’s not all the Cyclones did for us. They also sent the mascot up to where we were sitting for some family photos . . .
and they put on a great postgame fireworks show: