If you are like me, and you are a father to a five year old whom you’re trying to convert to a Mets fan, the New York Mets did absolutely nothing to help you this offseason. They traded away your favorite player, they spent six dollars on the outfield, and did absolutely nothing to make the team competitive. But, all is not lost, dads! Despite the mediocre play, by being strategic, you can still make a good attempt at developing a life long bond with the ballclub.
MLB.TV is your friend. I get my Mets fix via mlb.tv on the ROKU and APPLE TV. About $125 a year and you get every out-of-market ballgame live. Since I live just outside the Mets territory, I am able to watch every Mets game that isn’t on FOX or ESPN. And the next morning they have two minute recaps of every game as well. My son goes to bed at 7:30, so he doesn’t get to see too many weeknight games live. But we talk about the ballclub all the time, and when the Mets pull one out, I make sure to show him the two minute recap. He knows they are not winning very often, (I don’t lie to him when he asks who won), but in a lost season those two minute recaps of wins makes baseball seem very exciting!
MATT HARVEY is your friend. This weekend Harvey had a “bad game”. He allowed more than one run! But Matt Harvey is exciting, and so I make sure we tune in to see Matt Harvey when he’s on the mound.
EVERYTHING IS EXCITING LIVE. I’ve taken my son to two Mets ballgames this year so far. The Mets are 1-1 in those games, but my son and I are 2-0 in father-son bonding. Even high foul pop ups are really amazing to a young kid. “Wow, that was higher than the scoreboard!”
GO OUTSIDE. Hit the ball off a tee, play catch, play “bases”, race around a little league infield. It doesn’t matter if the real Mets are awful – when you are playing pretend Mets, Lucas Duda always comes through in the clutch.
AVOID WFAN. These guys are not helping your cause.
ART PROJECTS. We draw the teams logos in crayon and he brings home drawings from school. He’s learning the colors of teams around the league, and which logo is the hardest to draw (Indians).
BANNER DAY ALL WEEK. For the past week and a half, we worked on our handmade banner together. Made with markers and crayons, glue and tape, I think it came out pretty swell. Shannon called me out on Twitter for making excuses and not coming to the parade. Of course I would have loved to have taken my son on the field with our banner, but to make the 10AM registration would have meant leaving the house at 8AM. All the weather forecasters not named Shannon Shark had the forecast as iffy at best, and my son was not too thrilled about hustling to get dressed at 7:30AM. I saw rain delays in our future and getting back home 12 hours later, rain soaked. So, I called an audible. We spent the morning hanging out at home, and then left Central Jersey at 11 to head up to Flushing. Definitely the right move this year. We took our banner to the stands and waved it in between innings. The WPIX 11 cameras picked us up after the 7th inning stretch! Great stuff. I know Shannon doesn’t think 99 banners is enough of a showing, but I think Banner Day was a success. The crowd was pretty good for a pretty bad team, the event garnered a lot of coverage in the MSM and social media, and they had the winning banner come on to the field during the game. More importantly, my son and I had a great time. Even though the Mets lost badly, we made some great memories and my son’s fandom is intact.
Look, I know there are no guarantees with this, and I am OK with that. My Dad did everything right when he tried to make me a Yankees fan. Took me to games, bought me cracker jacks and made me T-shirts. Played wiffle ball in the driveway and pretended to be Goose Gossage. But in 1983 I joined Cub Scouts and all of those Long Island kids were Mets fans, and I became one as well. Karma will come back and turn my kid into a Phillies fan, I’m almost sure of it. Damn that Phanatic is quite compelling. But I am really enjoying being a Mets fan with my son, even though the record books will show this as a lost baseball season.