IV

Matz Squeezed, Mets Winning Streak Bursts

In my life, there are two offbeat holiday traditions I look forward to each and every year if the calendar permits.

The first is St. Paddy’s Day. To me, there is nothing better than the NCAA Tournament starting on a Thursday St. Paddy’s Day.

That morning begins with me making a soda bread, and if all goes according to plan, and by now it does, I’m in front of the TV as the first tip-off begins with a slice of soda bread fresh from the oven. I then wash that down with a beautiful Guiness.

The other tradition is Easter Sunday baseball.

Find the Easter baskets. Go to mass. Enjoy a lovely brunch. Turn on the Mets game.

My first memory doing this was 1987. I knew it was that year because the Easter Bunny stuffed my Easter basket with those beautiful wood bordered Topps cards.

I remember my uncles gathering around the TV to watch the Mets face off against the Cardinals. I still remember my Nana’s consternation over it. That consternation would ensue for decades.

Thirty-one years later, my ritual was renewed with the Mets again losing to the Cardinals.

Really, the Mets lost because Steven Matz wasn’t sharp, and Luke Weaver was.

Matz left the ball up, and that led to Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina capitalizing by each hitting solo homers off Matz.

Those homers accounted for two of the three Cardinals homers of the day and for two of the three runs Matz allowed in his four innings pitched. Being optimistic, this was a stepping stone for Matz.

Sure, you could point to how he needed 89 pitches to get through four. He walked three and struck out just four. The Cardinals scores in three straight innings off of him. However, lost in that was just how bad CB Bucknor was behind the plate, and how much he squeezed Matz.

The converse was Weaver had the same strike zone, but he didn’t struggle the same way. To be fair, he dealt with a more platoon friendly lineup.

Brandon Nimmo was sick leading to Juan Lagares getting the start. Surprisingly, Lagares had a great day at the plate going 3-4.

With everyone sputtering around him, there’s no surprise he was left stranded all three times.

One of the bigger offenders was Wilmer Flores. Even with the right-handed starter, Flores got the start over Adrian Gonzalez.

Flores would go 0-4 with two strikeouts. He also failed to cash in in a key opportunity. In the first, the Mets didn’t get the early led with Flores striking out with runners on first and second with two out.

After that, DeJong hit a solo shot in the top of the second, and the Cardinals never looked back in their 5-1 win.

Big picture, the Mets have nothing to worry about here. It was just one loss in a series they not only played well, but they took two of three. If the Mets play this way, and they’re doing places this year.

And as an aside, it was fun to share one of my favorite traditions with my two boys.

Game Notes: Both Paul Sewald and Jacob Rhame made their 2018 debuts, and they both surrendered a run.

16 Beats a 1, Cubs Win World Series, Mets Are The Mets

Last night was one of those nights. You were forever going to tell people where you were. For me, I was sitting on my couch with a cranky baby and four year old. Why were they so cranky?

Well, because I’m me, an avid sports fan and idiot, I woke them up to watch the final few minutes of the Virginia-UMBC game. History was being made, and I wanted them to see something that never happened before – a 16 beating a 1. The final score was as startling as the upset itself with UMBC winning 74-54.

As an aside, Ralph Sampson and his UVA teammates can rest assured they are no longer the Cavalier team who is mentioned as the biggest upset of all time in college basketball. No, that 1982 loss by number one ranked Viriginia to Division III Chaminade will fall by the wayside – even if that was the much bigger upset.

But I digress.

Last night was one of those great moments in sports history, and you didn’t want to miss it. I know I didn’t want my boys to miss it.

It’s not too dissimilar when I woke up my oldest to watch the end of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. What’s funny about that game was instead of tuning in for the ninth, he was tuned into all the hysteria which included a miracle game tying three run homer by Rajai Davis off Aroldis Chapman, a rain delay, and Ben Zobrist‘s game and World Series RBI double.

For the first time in 108 years, the Cubs won the World Series. My son was watching it much like he was last night when a 16 seed beat a 1 seed for the first time in 136 tries (34 years).

It once again shows that the impossible can happen in sports. As a proud parent, it’s just proof positive that everything has been amazing since my son was born.

Speaking of amazing, the one thing he hasn’t seen is the Mets win the World Series.

Who knows? With Mickey Callaway at the helm, maybe things will be different. Maybe Michael Conforto being ahead of schedule is a good thing instead of the typical Mets unnecessarily pushing an injured player to play (see Beltran, Carlos).

Maybe, just maybe that’ll be the case instead of this being the typical Mets. After all, the Cubs have won the World Series and a 16 has beat a 1.

This could be the Mets years. Probably not.

Ten Apples Pop On Up!

 

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, this Mets story has been adapted from “Ten Apples Up On Top!”

One apple pops on up!

Two apples pop on up!

Look, Nimmo.
I can do it, also.

Watch!
See!
Plawecki can hit three!

Three . . .
Three . . .
Plawecki?
We
‘ll see.

He can do three
but d’Arnaud can do more.
Kevin has three
but TdA has four.

Look! Watch! Now!
Amed can bop
watch four homers
put the Mets on top.

Amed can bop
he’s swinging free
with four long
homers you can’t see.

Look here, you four.
Watch here, you four.
Wilmer can get five
home runs.
Who hits more?

Bruce is so good
He will not stop
Five!
Now six!
Now seven apples pop on up!

Seven apples
pop on up!

Mets are
so good
No pitcher can stop.

Five, six, seven!
Home Run, Home Run, Home Run!
Seven, six, five
four, three, two, one!

But wait!
Frazier is as good as Bruuuce.
Wow! He has also let seven loose.

And Yo!, Cespedes!.
Eight!  Eight pop up!
Eight apples up!
No ball will drop.

Eight!  Eight!
Trotting to home plate.
Watch now!
A bat flip and slow trot
to home plate.

But Wright can do nine.
It’s gone
in a blink!
No other team can do this,
I think.

Yo hits!  Bruce hits!
Wright hits one too.
It’s outta here!
For the orange and blue!

The Mets are so good,
Pitcher’s on the brink.
With nine, he’s gone
and he needs a drink.

Nine is very good.
But then . . .
Conforto will make it ten!

Look!
Ten
apples
pop
on
up!
The Mets Home Run Apple
will not drop!

Look out!
Look out!
It’s not going to drop.

The Mets hit another
long ball.
Get out.  Get out.  You!
It’s a curtain call!

Home Run!  Home Run!
Another long ball
The Mets will not let
that apple fall!

Another on the way!
The Mets will not stop.
They will not let
the Home Run Apple drop.

The pitcher doesn’t feel good.
What can he do?
When apples start popping
for the orange and blue.

The Mets will hit them
once they see them.
Home run!  We can not
stop watching them.

It has a chance!
Home Run!
Home Run!
Home Run!

No pitcher can stop
Mets apple fun.
That apple will not drop.
Here’s another one!

Another one!  Another one!
Another one! Home runs all!
That Home Run apple will not fall.

They cannot get
that apple down.
Home runs!  Home runs!
Flying out of town!

Apples!
Apples pop on up!
What an incredible
Line-up
LINE-UP
LINE-UP!

No pitcher can
make Mets fun stop!
Our Home Run Apple
is never going to drop.

Look!
Ten apples
Another curtain call!

What fun!
When Mets fans watch
those homers go over the wall.

Baby Crying? Try Music

When your children are newborn, the only way they can truly communicate is crying.

Full diaper?  Cry

Hungry?  Cry

Want attention?  Cry

Bored, upset, angry, happy?  Cry, cry, cry cry.

Point is there are many reasons why a baby cries.  As parents, there are just so many things you can do to help.

Change the baby.  Feed the baby.  Give the baby a pacifier.  Bounce the baby on your knee.  Hold the baby.  Rock the baby.

Sometimes it helps.  Sometimes it doesn’t.

And when it doesn’t, you find yourself running through the gamut as the baby gets more and more upset.  That’s when the cries grow louder and louder and seemingly more and more pained.

To avoid all of that, I have one suggestion.  When your baby begins crying or looks to get to that point, quickly put on some music.  At a minimum, the hope is that it soothes the baby.  Maybe, it will even be exactly what your baby wanted all along.

The easiest way to handle the situation is to have a song ready to go on your phone.  Whether it is itunes or You Tube, be ready to quickly turn the song on.

If you are looking for a song to pick, I will say Lou Christie’s Lightnin Strikes worked for both of my sons.  Hopefully, it will for you as well:

New Mets Fan

Noon Year’s Eve

While looking for things to do with my son this New Year’s Eve, I came across a concept I was previously unfamiliar – Noon Year’s Eve.

The concept is a fairly simple one – instead of counting down to 12 at midnight, you countdown to 12 at noon.  By doing this, you permit you and your family to celebrate New Year’s Eve with your children.

This does alleviate come problems.  First and foremost, depending on your child’s age, you no longer need to keep them up or wake them up from their sleep to get them to celebrate.  Second, if you are not inclined to keep them up or wake them up, it allows you to celebrate with them.  Third, it will allow you a little peace of mind celebrating on your own while your child rests comfortably.

If you contact your local zoos, museums, or towns, they are likely to have a number of events set up for the family to celebrate.

In the event they don’t, or you don’t want to go out on what may be a cold day, you could always set something up at your home.

If you subscribe to Netflix, they will have a number of themed New Year’s Eve countdowns that can set up and watch with your child.  If you are so inclined, have a little New Year’s Eve party with your children’s friends.  It would be fun to have some cupcakes and sparking apple or grape juice.

Overall, Noon Years Eve is a great concept for parents with small children.  It allows you to include them in the celebration.  It gives you the opportunity to have a family celebration.  It also affords you to have a guilt free adult celebration.

Happy Noon Years!

Merry Christmas 

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas. 

2018 Holiday Shopping Guide For Four Year Olds

In previous years, I complied holiday shopping guides for when my son was two and when he was three.  Before creating this next list, I looked back, and I believe many of those items are still relevant, especially the Thomas table which my son periodically still uses to this day.

However, he’s older now, and his wants have changed.  Gone are the days of Thomas and now we have ushered in the days of Lightning McQueen.  With that in mind, and with other considerations, here is a list of items I do recommend for a four year for Christmas:

  1. Balance Bike with Helmet
  2. Boogie Board – not for the beach, one to write with
  3. Slot Cars
  4. Cars 3 Service Station or Mack’s Mobile Play Set
  5. Remote Control Car
  6. Thomasville Speedway Portable Set (bonus points for also being storage)
  7. Florida 500 Speedway
  8. Lego Juniors Sets
  9. Lego Table or Folding Table
  10. Board Games
    1. Candyland
    2. Connect Four
    3. Operation
    4. Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons Game
    5. Trouble
  11. Baseball Mitt
  12. Knee Hockey Set
  13. Portable Soccer Net and Soccer Ball
  14. Football Uniform Set and Nerf Football
  15. Paw Patrol Air Patroller
  16. Paw Patrol Sea Patroller
  17. Pig & Elephant Books
  18. Pete the Cat Books
  19. Pigeon Books
  20. Amed Rosario (or other player) Shirsey

For many of the aforementioned items, I included the Amazon link for ease of use.  I did this for two reasons: (1) everyone has access to Amazon; and (2) this late in the process, you have a better chance of getting something off the internet instead of at a store.  If you haven’t purchased the items yet, comparison shop to the best of your ability.

While I hope this list is helpful, we should always to remember to tailor what we buy for your child’s interests.  This is a large reason why I have only relisted one item from this year’s Top 25 Christmas Toys.

As always, please remember while you’re shopping, pick up a toy, no matter how small and donate it.

Breakfast With Santa Better Than A Mall Picture, Cyclones Breakfast Scheduled For 12/17

On Sunday December 17th, the Brooklyn Cyclones are hosting a Breakfast With Santa at MCU Park.  For $10 per person or just $30 for a family of four, this is an absolute steal.

If you are not sold, consider your typical Christmas picture with Santa.  You park only God knows where in a crowded mall parking lot.  After that, you have to wait in a long line with your children.  As we know the mall is hot, and your children are going to be cranky.  That crankiness goes up a level if you have them in a nice Christmas outfit.

This leaves you collecting winter jackets or imploring them to leave them on.  It’s a nightmare.  You then have to rally them when they get to the front of the line to stop being cranky, smile, and take a nice picture.  Depending on the age of your child, that may be a Herculean task because your child may be scared or intimidated.

For all that effort?  Well you get to take one picture which may or may not be good.  Even better, using the Short Hills Mall as an example, the whole exasperating experience will cost you $26 and up.

Instead of doing that, you could go to MCU Park and have an IHOP pancake breakfast.  You then get to do picture with Santa and the mascots.  Instead of standing in an interminable line, you child gets to do arts and crafts, have a story time, sing-a-longs, and have giveaways.

With this being 2017, the camera on your phone is more than good enough to take the picture yourself.  You can then order that picture through Walgreens, Snapfish, or Shutterfly for less than a buck.  Better yet, you can make that your Christmas card for the year.

Really, the question is why you would consider braving the malls this time of year instead of having Santa be a fun experience for your children.  It makes no sense whatsoever, and that is why you should elect to do Breakfast with Santa instead of the staged photo.

Even if you can’t make it to MCU Park, you should still seek out Breakfast with Santa options.  I did it once again this year, and I was thrilled with the result.

Even though the one I went to was more money than the one at MCU Park, it was still cheaper than a digital photo package from the mall.  On top of that, I had breakfast with the family and an overall fun day.

EDITOR’S NOTE: this was not a paid advertisement.  Rather, this is just strong advice based upon my experiences.

Happy Birthday

Can’t believe it’s been four years. 

I’m more proud of you than you’ll ever know. 

Happy Birthday.