Raising a Mets Fan

MLB Needs Weekly Nickelodeon Or Disney Game

By and large, the NFL having a playoff game on Nickelodeon was a massive success. When you looked at it, there really wasn’t anyone with a true negative thing to say about the game.

At my house, my son wasn’t as enamored with the graphics. As he put it, “It’s not really slime; it’s graphics.” However, he loved how great a job Nate Burleson did teaching the game.

Specifically, he said he thought Burleson did a great job explaining the red zone. With the fun graphics, he got a better understanding of the sport there. He also had fun with the other kid friendly things like the NVP.

Like me, he was also disappointed there was no slime. It seemed like a big missed opportunity, but based on what we saw, it should happen next year.

And it should happen again. As a parent, I liked being able to put my kid in front of a sporting event and not have to worry about the commercials. I also really thought they did an extraordinary job explaining the game while not pandering or condescending to the kids.

On another important note, I’m not a special needs parent, but seeing the reaction on social media, it was a success for those families as well:

What the NFL did yesterday was truly remarkable. They need to be commended, and if you’re another league, they need to be replicated.

That goes double for baseball. We hear time and again people lament how kids aren’t following the game like their parents and grandparents. We hear about their difficulties attracting newer and younger fans.

Well, the NFL just gave it to them. They now have their template.

If you’re MLB, you should be more daring. This shouldn’t just be a single postseason game. Instead, they should have a game of the week with a children’s network.

Yesterday, we saw Nickelodeon could handle it. We also know MLB has a relationship with Disney by and through ESPN. It makes you wonder if they could instead opt to have a game on the Disney Channel.

As an aside, we know MLB and ESPN agreed to cancel the weekday games on Monday and Wednesday. Those are two days available right there to have the games.

Now, this is where people clamor for afternoon weekend games. That’s a mistake waiting to happen. At that time, parents are out with kids running to practice, games, recitals, birthday parties, and much more. The weekend afternoon is when kids are not at home.

And if they are home, they’re outside playing with their friends. They aren’t going to be cooped up in their living rooms when they can be outside playing or swimming.

No, the best time to do this is the weekday afternoon games. They could make the game start around 5:00 or 6:00 to make it a little more kid friendly. They could also do 7:00.

Whatever weekday time they choose, they need to find a way to make it work with a kid’s channel like Nickelodeon or Disney. They need to find broadcasters like Noah Eagle and Nate Burleson who do a great job explaining the game to kids.

We’re all aware of what a success the game was yesterday. Now, it’s up to MLB to make it a success for them and to grow the game.

Thank You Colin Cosell

Mets fans are a truly blessed to be a great community. That includes regular fans like myself as well as people like Mets PA Announcer Colin Cosell.

Cosell, for no reason other than he’s a great person, offered to prepare walk-up music and introductions for Mets fans for free. He stepped up and gave Mets fans a free Christmas gift they can cherish forever.

I reached out, and I requested one for each of my boys. They absolutely loved it. It wasn’t just them either. My entire family did as well, especially my father who probably got more of a kick out of it than anyone.

That’s what Cosell did. He gave a gift not just to my kids, but also my entire family. That is something truly special, and I cannot begin to thank him. Honestly, in addition to my private notes is to publicize how great a person he is for doing something like this.

So again, thank you for this truly wonderful gift. Words cannot express how wonderful it was.

Use Zoom To Help Your Children See Their Friends

Seemingly, every school district in the United States has closed schools leaving parents to home-school their children. Looking beyond that, they are under the same self isolation and quarantine orders as their parents are. That leaves parents and children home and away from the outside world.

This is hard on everyone, especially our children. They are unable to see their friends. Their activities, like Little League, are being postponed or canceled. This leaves us as parents looking for ways to engage them and to make them feel normal.

Certainly, FaceTime helps, but that only works if the other parents have an iPhone as well. It is also somewhat restrictive in that it limits it to one-on-one interaction. It would also be beneficial if you could get a group of friends together in a fashion similar to what they normally do.

On that note, many have been utilizing Zoom to have office meetings and the like. Seeing how effective it has been for work, we should also be looking to use it for our children to allow them to see and speak with their friends.

Get together with the other parents and schedule a time where you can all have your children speak to one another using Zoom. You can do it as one-on-one or much larger groups. It also helps carve out the time to make sure everyone does it.

Think of this like Little League practice. For example, let’s say you were going to have Little League practices on Wednesday at 6:00 P.M. Now, instead, you can make that Zoom time. How long you want to do it for is up to you and the other parents.

It doesn’t matter if  you have hours to spend or if you just have 5-10 minutes. Every little bit helps your children see their friends and help them feel normal at least for that small time frame. You know you have that time somewhere in your schedule over the course of a week. Find it and coordinate with other parents to do it and help you and your children through this process.

COVID19 Home School Plans: Mo Willems Lunch Doodles

Mo Willems is the acclaimed author of the Pidgeon and Pig & Elephant series in addition to a number of children’s books like Knuffle Bunny. In his books, he has a way of reaching out to children, teaching them, and entertaining them.

Right now, at the moment we all need him most, he is helping out patents and children alike.

While are children are home with schools closed down due to COVID19, Willems is hosting a 22 minute “Lunch Doodles.”

In the Lunch Doodles, Willems shares his creative process while encouraging it in children. There were drawings at the beginning and the end, and he takes time to answer questions.

He even encourages kids to send questions and share their drawings with him. Overall, it’s inspiring a creative and learning environment, and he’s doing it just as the time we need it.

They’re available at 1:00 P.M. EST, and they will remain on YouTube to accessed later if needed. The first episode is embedded above, and if you return here, subsequent episodes will be linked to this article.

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

https://youtube.com/watch?v=N90fLxaBCGE

Other Ideas

Write a Journal

Mystery Science

Field Trip

COVID19 Homeschool And Work From Home Schedule

Like many parents across America, we have been faced with the prospect of having to work from home while also homeschooling our children. If you are like my school district, there are strict log-in times to count your child’s attendance. If that is the case, you are stuck teaching your children during work hours instead of being able to be truly flexible.

To put things into perspective, my children’s home school district sent the following requirements that our child be logged into Google Classroom anytime 7:00 – 10:00 A.M. to count attendance. From there, the school day is assigned as 9:00 – 2:00 with teachers getting an hour break from 12:00 – 1:00.

During that time, we are supposed to do assignments with our children while also finding a half hour during the day for physical activity. While that may not seem daunting, in our household, we have to do that while finding time for both parents to work while also keeping watch over our two year old. With that in mind, we have developed a schedule which we hope helps other people:

6:30 – 8:30: Parent A works from laptop while Parent B get kids dressed and has breakfast with them.

8:30 – 9:00: Clean-up of breakfast, set-up for homeschool log-in, and switch of parents for work.

9:00 – 12:00: Parent A is out of pocket monitoring emails and calls working with the homeschooling. Parent B is on the laptop working.

12:00 – 1:00: Lunch time for family. Both parents are out of pocket monitoring emails and phone calls.

1:00 – 2:00: Parent A goes back to laptop while Parent B is out of p0cket finishing up the school day.

2:00 – 4:00: Both parents working from home simultaneously while children are doing activities like coloring, reading books, playing outside, or watching T.V.

4:00 – 4:30: Regroup. Discuss who still needs to do what, have a light snack for kids, and figure out any contingencies for the rest of the day.

4:30 – 5:30: Parent A sits with kids and begins preparing dinner while Parent B is on the laptop

5:30 – 6:30: Dinner

6:30 – 7:30: Every device off for family time. Part of time spent is a family walk, play a game, etc.

7:30 – 8:30: Bedtime process, i.e. baths, reading books, and tucking the kids into bed

8:30 – 10:30: Both parents on the laptops doing work finishing up whatever they need to do for the day.

Parent A: worked 7 hours
Parent B: worked 8 hours

From 10:30 on, you can find time to spend with your significant others, and catch up on whatever you need to catch up on from the day.

Please keep in mind, this is a framework of a schedule for two parents working at home with kids who need to be homeschooled. As a family you may need to adapt to your jobs demands as well as any challenges which may come our way while we are all home due to COVID19.

As time progresses, this may be amended to reflect any changes we need to make. If there is anything you are doing which is different than this, and you find it helpful, please share in the comments section. Overall, remember that even though we are all socially isolated, we are still all in this together, and we can all work together to try to figure it out.

Parents Guide To Combating Coronavirus

I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. Like most of you, I am just a person who has no idea if the coronavirus is a pandemic of biblical proportions, or if this is just a seasonal virus which will pass much like the avian and swine flu once did.

No, I am just a father concerned about my children and parents getting it. Like with the flu, the risk is greater for them. This means while I will presumably be alright, if I contract it, I can spread it to others. For me, that’s the real risk.

Now, there is no way to cut ourselves off from society. I need to go to work, and my children need to go to school. Honestly, even with the risk of disease, there are things we just have to do as a family. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take preventative measures. The CDC has already outlined them:

  • Advoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to  others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

The general rule I’m using for my family is everywhere you go the first thing you do is wash your hands. I also keep baby wipes on hand to wipe down hands and faces. That is necessary when you are opening doors and touching things others who might be infected could’ve touched.

Keep in mind while you may need to live your life, you can make smarter choices. For example, you can go to the grocery store either early in the morning or very late in the day, i.e. at times when there aren’t many people. Also, you can order things on Amazon and have them delivered. On that note, Amazon does have many things cheaper than you can get them in stores.

The other thing we’ve done is stop eating out. You don’t and can’t know if the people handling your food have been infected. While that is a general rule of thumb, there is no vaccine for the coronavirus like there is for the flu.

Beyond that, we haven’t found much more we can do. Our children are already taking their vitamins, drinking their milk, and they had already been taking elderberry. Basically, they are doing all the things we can do to keep them happy and healthy.

At the moment, we are doing our normal activities with the children albeit on a more limited basis. For example, we are not doing story times at the library or Barnes & Noble. Instead, we read at home. We also aren’t going to the movies, nor are we going to attend any sporting events. Sadly, right now, that means no Opening Day or NCAA Tournament.

Mostly, we pray. We pray for health and guidance. Of course, right now, we pray while avoiding Church, which I hope is understandable even in this Lenten season.

When and if there are cases near us, we will reassess what we do. For right now, we are living our lives, but we are being smart about it. From our perspective, that seems to be what makes the most sense. If we had an infant, it’s very likely we would be even more restrictive in what we do. The same if our parents lived with us.

Overall, the best piece of advice to give anyone is to listen to the CDC, your doctors, and other medical professionals. Seriously, while I hope this was all helpful, you should disregard much of this advice because ultimately it’s uneducated advice.

In the end, the biggest takeaway is follow what the CDC and other medical professionals tell you and to stop seeking advice from people like me. In the end, all I can do is tell you what I am or am not doing. Like others, I cannot guarantee my advice is effective. Rather, it is just what we are doing. Hopefully, you find something which helps you and your family stay safe and healthy.

Coronavirus Presents Opportunity For MLB To Grow The Game

With the fears over the outbreak of the coronavirus, Major League Baseball is starting to take preventative measures. Different teams have prevented their players from signing autographs for fans. When it comes to the spread of disease and the health of their players, you understand why teams are doing this.

For Spring Training, this is troublesome. This is a time where fans get more access to the players than at any point during the year. That is all the more the case with expanded netting around ballparks. With the reduced access to players, fans get less time to interact and to get autographs.

Some teams are sensitive to that, and as a result, they are having their players sign some items, and those items are going to be distributed to fans. This is something teams should think about doing year-round.

For young fans, batting practice presents an opportunity to get autographs. Unfortunately, not every player takes batting practice, and some of the better players have team obligations pre-game which stands in the way of their ability to sign and take pictures with fans before games.

As a result, some young fans aren’t going to get autographs or get to see the players they want to see. To a certain extent, that’s life. Kids are just going to have to suck it up and grow from it. However, that doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t now be thinking outside the box and using this idea to grow the game.

Take the Mets for an example.

Every Sunday, the New York Mets have Family Sundays. On Family Sundays, there are some fun activities outside the ballpark for young fans. After the game, those young fans have the opportunity to run the bases. Perhaps, the Mets could also give away some player signed items to young fans at games.

Maybe it is a box of pre-signed baseballs given to young fans as they enter the game. It could just be random giving kids a chance to grab a Pete Alonso or Paul Sewald. Perhaps, they could do themed days.

One week could be rotation week with a ball signed by Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, and Rick Porcello. Another week could be the outfield with autographs from Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and whoever else lands in the outfield. With the 20th anniversary of the 2000 pennant, there could be a ball signed by players from that team including Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Hampton, Al Leiter, and Mike Piazza.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be balls either. It could be baseball cards, or it could be other items teams have in stock and are just trying to move. In fact, you usually see that at the end of the year with the team having a wheel for fans to spin to win a “prize” which was really nothing more than a promotion they never could give away.

In the end, Major League Baseball is adapting to the threat of the coronavirus, and they are trying to make the game experience safer for their players and fans. They could take what they learned from this, and they can carry the policy through the season. If done well, they could make the game experience more fun for kids and help grow the game.

If You Give A Met a Cookie

If you give a Met a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of 2% milk,
When you give him the milk, he is getting ready to hit like Straw,
When the Met is done eating his cookie,
He’ll want another and another and another.

He will go outside to get an Insomnia Cookie.
When he is outside he will see the Home Run Apple,
Seeing the apple will make him want to crush baseballs.

The pitcher will have to pitch a ball,
The outfielders ready with their gloves.
To the pitcher, he’ll look strong like a Polar Bear with his bat.

The pitcher will throw a pitch,
He’ll hit a HOME RUN!

He’ll do a bat flip and dance like a Squirrel to celebrate.

When he starts to dance, the press will want to take his picture.
When he sees his smiling face, he’ll want to text the picture to all of his friends.

When they get the text, they’ll want to know the story.
So he’ll tell them the story of how he scooted around the bases.
He’ll get so excited telling the story, he’ll want to talk to his teammates.

When talking, they’ll talk about how to play the game the Wright way.
They’ll talk about scouting reports, camaraderie, and giving the extra 2% on the field.
Talking about the extra 2% will remind them they’re thirsty.
So, they’ll get a glass of milk.

And chances are . . .
If they gets themselves a glass of milk, they’re going to want a cookie to go with it.

Adapted from Laura Numeroff books, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” “If You Give a Dog a Donut” “If You Give a Pig a Pancake

Real Sports Highlights Parents Youth Sports Dilemma

When Derek Jeter was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he went to the set of MLB Network to talk about his career. During that time, he advocated for playing multiple sports as a kid. Sadly, the world is seemingly moving away from that.

Increasingly, parents are seeking to have their children specialize in just one sport. Worse yet, parents are doing it with children at younger and younger ages.

While this seems unhealthy (it is), it’s actually worse than imagined. On a recent episode of Real Sports, they highlighted how this has led to what doctors are referring to an epidemic of sports injuries among children.

Seeing young prepubescent children undergo the knife is shocking. What’s all the more troubling is hearing different statements from the children and their parents.

You heard the soccer players talk about how if they took some time off, time their bodies needed to recover, they fell behind. This meant the loss of an opportunity to fulfill dreams of playing collegiate soccer. For some, that could mean the loss of a much needed athletic scholarship.

Others spoke about how even though they’ll need knee surgeries and have early onset arthritis, they still love the sport and want to keep pushing themselves past their braking point.

It’s very easy to say these parents have lost all perspective and criticize them. Obviously, what they’re doing is crazy, and in the Real Sports segment, they actually admit it. Chances are, they got to this point very innocently.

Parents talk about the joy their children feel playing the sports while also clearly pained by what’s happening. In their faces, you see an inner dilemma and turmoil, and to date, they don’t have a solution.

Seeing what I see now from an athletic six year old, I’m surmising this is something which innocently happens at the outset.

At a young age, my son has been recruited to play for travel hockey and soccer teams. Yes, you read that correctly. A six year old is being recruited.

With those recruitments, we’ve heard pitches of an inside track to this high school or being able to work with that coach. As noted in the Real Sports article, youth sports is a big business now, and coaches want the best players to rack up wins and notoriety.

Going back to the kids for a moment, you see a difference between a child liking a sport and a child LOVING a sport.

What do you do when your child actually wants to play the same sport constantly? What do you do when your child strives to improve? What do you do when your child’s best friends are on those teams?

When viewed through that prism you begin to see this less as parents being monsters who abdicate their perspective, and you begin to see parents as people who were just trying to do their best and lost their perspective.

These youth leagues shoulder much of the blame. They’re the supposed experts who are supposed to direct you onto the right path. Lost in that is their existence is fueled by you doing more and more and not necessarily by doing what’s right by the children.

So what do you, as parents do?

First and foremost, don’t sign up your child for a team unless you trust the coaches. If those teams are worth their salt, they’ll speak with you beforehand. Personally, I knew we found the right team when the coach preached playing multiple sports and taking a break.

You see parents are not immediately aware of burnout and fatigue. Aside from the risks shown by Real Sports, at some point, a child will get sick of playing the same thing all the time.

Another factor with playing other sports is they’re fun. It may not be as fun as the main sport, but it’s still fun. In those sports, your child not only works on other skills which will help them in other sports (for example, baseball is great for hand/eye coordination), but for parents, you get perspective.

You’ll see what other parents say about those sports. You also get out of the bubble. Your child gets to branch out, discover something new, and have fun.

It also doesn’t have to be a sport. It can be music lessons, or just sitting home and playing with Legos. Really, just something different. It’s helps your child, and it helps you better parent your child.

In the end, this is about your child’s health and enjoyment of life. When these sports start becoming professionalized at a young age, the fun is being drained from them, and with it comes increased injury. The sports won’t change, but the parenting can.

Overall, as parents, just remember you want happy and healthy children, and in the end, you’re really the only one with your child’s best interests in mind. Seek out advice from an array of sources, do your research, and in the end, trust your instincts.

All Time Is Quality Time

In his Medium article, Ryan Holiday writes about how the eternal search for quality time leads to disappointment. In reality, it’s that search which not only builds up these moments to live up to impossible lofty expectations, but it also has you missing the everyday magic.

It is an article well worth the time. In it, he discusses Jerry Seinfeld’s love of the mundane and how Holiday has loved his time just waiting.

Reading it brought me back to different moments. There are those times I’m driving in my car, and my son innocently begins a conversation by saying, “Daddy?” in that one tone where I know he has something important he wants to say.

It’s those moments my youngest just randomly starts singing a song and gets all excited when you start singing with him.

Honestly, Holiday is right. With your family, the best things happen everyday, and the moments don’t need to be manufactured. They’re already there, and they’re coming when you least expect it.

For example, yesterday, I was making macaroni and cheese for lunch. Next thing I know, my oldest wants to help. So while the pasta is boiling, I have him measuring out the milk and butter.

As is usually the case, when my oldest is doing something, the youngest needs to do it too. Suddenly, after I drain the pasta, the two of them, not me, are stirring the ingredients together.

This was a completely organic moment which happened for no other reason than the family was spending time together. To me, this was Holiday’s point. From the seemingly mundane came the real magic.