Tag Archives: baseball

Take Me Out to the Ball Games


We made it to Spring Break!! We didn’t make any big plans to go away. Flights were too expensive to fly anywhere and Dave had to work so we decided to make it a staycation instead.

A few weeks ago, Drew and I made plans to go to Philadelphia to see the Mets play the Phillies on Monday.  My friend Melanie and her family are going to the Orioles vs Yankees game on Sunday and that got me thinking….

I found some good seats right near their’s and a last minute hotel deal and surprised Drew tonight. Maybe this will move me up a few points on the “fun mom” scale!!

Might not blog for a few days…but…you never know what stories will pop up. If I have something fun to share, I will. Otherwise, back at it next week.

Three Strikes You’re Out

umpire quote

Drew decided not to play baseball this year. He was going to be playing in a group of kids that are up to two years older than him and at this age, there is a huge size difference between 13 and 15 year olds!  Drew is already on the smaller size for a 13 year old. We supported him completely but I have to admit, I was a bit sad to miss out on baseball this season.  That is until he took it upon himself to take the town’s umpire course and become an umpire for the Spring Season.

He umped his first game on Saturday and asked us if we’d come to see it so Dave, DJ and I went to watch the game. His age group of umpires gets to call the games for the youngest group of kids, second and third graders. He told us that he was a little bit nervous and that he thought about it the whole night before but by the second inning, he seemed like a pro already. His voice got stronger, he seemed more sure of himself and the game went smoothly.

Fortunately, there were great parent coaches on both teams – I think that’s what worried him the most. Umpires are taught how to handle difficult parents, and that they are allowed to send them off the field if warranted.  Glad we didn’t have to see that happen though.

So, my season without baseball didn’t happen.  I am sure I won’t be going to all of the games, and for  those I do go to, I won’t be cheering on a particular team, but now I can go and still support him and enjoy those Spring baseball days that I grew to love.

drew umpire

South Orange’s Own “Field of Dreams”

play ball babe ruth

Today, I had the privilege of taking photos for The South Orange Cameron Field Centennial Celebration. Cameron Field is a local baseball field “where the legends played.”  This afternoon, the South Orange Recreation Department and the South Orange Historic Preservation commission sponsored The South Orange Villagers vs The Flemington Neshanock baseball game which was played according to The 1864 rules of baseball.

Cameron Field was dedicated on May 30, 1914 in front of a crowd of nearly 1000 people!!  The idea was to create a space where boys and girls would have space and equipment to play “to their hearts’ content.”

Back in the 1920’s, South Orange would host games that showcased semi-professional talents against other teams and the Negro League teams like The Newark Eagles, a sort of “pseudo All Star Team.”  During that time, players like Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Larry Doby and many more played games against the South Orange Villagers.  Baseball legends, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played in a game on Cameron Field.  They helped lead The Villagers to a win that game and together, they hit three home runs, including a legendary one that went OVER the railroad tracks.

I learned so many fun tidbits today watching the game.  No gloves were worn – since they hadn’t been invented yet in 1864.  Pitchers could only throw underhanded, running past first base would result in an out.  A fly ball could be caught on one bounce, resulting in an out.  VERY different than today’s rules which was probably why The Villagers lost 15-2. The Flemington Neshanock team plays 40-45 games a year promoting the history of baseball so they are used to crazy bounces and old-time rules.  The other team wore uniforms that were “throw back” vintage. They had bibs attached to them because the bibs were interchangeable. If a player was traded to a different team, they could still wear the same uniform, with another team’s bib and hat.

Despite the score, it was a fun, well attended game and everyone seemed to have a great time!

south orange baseball

Special thanks to The South Orange Historic Preservation Committee, where I was able to learn a lot of the interesting facts that I have included here today.

Last Game…maybe

babe ruth

I haven’t written a lot about baseball this summer.  It hasn’t been a very successful season for the boys.  Their team has only won two games.  It has been frustrating for the boys and despite how hard they seem to be trying, they just could not make it work out for them.

Tonight could be their last game.  If they lose, the season is over.  Although I am sure it is hard for the boys to realize, there are different ways to calculate success.  For some of these boys, it was their first time on “the big field” which made a big difference.  For others, trying out new positions that they’d never played before was a challenge.  Just working on becoming a cohesive team was difficult at times.  Dave assisted as one of the coaches.  He’s never coached baseball before and it was definitely a learning experience for him as well!

At twelve years old it is hard to see the logic behind a losing season but the last few games showed improvement.  Less errors, more hits, better fielding…they started pulling it together.  If only they had a few more games left.  The coaches don’t measure success only by having a winning season.  For them, it is keeping the boys interested and excited about playing ball and getting them excited to come back to play again next season.

Back at it!

baseball rain

Despite the weather, baseball season has started up again~

Drew and I went to the Mets game on Friday night, in the rain and sat in 38 degree weather soaking wet and freezing!  It got so cold at one point, that I went into the bathroom and wrapped my frosty feet in paper towels before stuffing them back into my boots.   We sat there in our seats shivering but not wanting to leave after our long commute into Citi Field.  We held out until the end of the 7th inning and decided to head out so that we wouldn’t have to wait long for our train.  No such luck.  The LIRR was delayed and we stood at the station, hopping around trying to warm our feet and bodies.

Despite the miserable cold, wet weather, we had a good time, and now we have a story to remember for years to come.  Plus we got to see two home runs by Lucas Duda!!  It was nice to have a night with just Drew hanging out together and just “catching up.”  Sure we see each other everyday, but with his busy schedule and mine we don’t have a lot of quality time.  The hour -plus train ride, “forced” us to have some down time together and it was worth every minute of that soggy, cold night.

This weekend was supposed to be opening day for Drew’s baseball team and although the sun was shining, the fields were still soaked after this long, snowy winter.  All games were canceled to the disappointment of Drew.  Today, it is rainy and cold again and up until twenty minutes ago, games were on.  Drew was all dressed, fed and ready to go!  He made me take a picture of him in his new uniform and got his bag all packed up.  Then, the email came in.  Game canceled.  Now he is moping up in his room angry and disappointed.

It is a long season.  Lots of games are scheduled and I am sure there will be a point where we are hoping for a night off.  Now…if we could only just get started!

Opening Day

opening day

Today is opening day for our beloved New York Mets.  We always say that it is not so easy being a Mets Fan, but it sure does build character!!!  They haven’t had a great season in so long!  But…we are not fair weather fans so we will stick by them. We always do.

Last week, my brother Tim asked us if he could take Drew to the game.  Here is where being a teacher and being a parent conflict.  My mom side said, “Absolutely!  How exciting for him!!”  My teacher side said, “Absolutely not!  He can not miss school for a baseball game!”  I debated with myself all weekend over it.  He is doing very well in school right now so missing a day, as long as he made up all the work couldn’t really hurt, BUT, he missed two days of school at the beginning of the month when he was sick.  I went back and forth over it but finally decided to give in and let him go.  Opening Day only comes once a year, and actually getting tickets to the game wasn’t going to happen often.  Too bad they had to see them lose.  Such a disappointing way to start the season but I still hope that this will be one of those special days he remembers forever, despite it being a loss.

A bunch of teachers at school are Mets fans so there was a bit of camaraderie at work today with all of us excited for the season to begin.  Even my class knows how much I enjoy baseball.  The best part of my day, was when one of my students came in with a gift bag for me.  I opened the card and it read, “Happy Baseball.”  Inside the bag was an awesome New York Mets tee-shirt for me!  I can’t wait to wear it and show off my New York Mets Pride!

Play Ball!!

lets go mets

Finding the Good Moments in 2013


Yesterday I tried to sum up 2013 in my blog.  A rough year, but there were still a lot of happy moments so today, I am going to share some photos of “The Best of 2013” because despite all the sadness we experienced, there were still a lot of really good moments.

We celebrated Father’s Day and all the great dads in our lives!IMG_2846

Although I was not a big fan of them, the cicada out break this spring was pretty interesting.IMG_8473

The new porch construction was a great addition to the house!IMG_9896

Celebrating dad’s 68th birthday with the family was a great day.IMG_9588e

DJ getting his driver’s permitIMG_3214

A quick overnight to Atlantic City with a few of my coworkers.IMG_3067

Visiting my college roommatesIMG_8598

Drew graduating from elementary school.IMG_8777e

Grammy turning 98IMG_9475

Mud Runs like The Dirty Girl IMG_2991e and The Muck Fest!IMG_2842

Drew and baseball, baseball, baseball!  Playing, watching and being a batboy for The Newark Bears. IMG_3212

and truly there were so many, many more.  Including joining the coaching group I am in where I have made some amazing friends this year, spending tons of time with extended family…I could truly go on and on.  Sadly, those terrible moments of 2013 have overshadowed the good ones, but when we looked back upon this year, it was really nice to find so many happy memories amongst the sad ones.  I am looking forward to making more happy ones in 2014!

Happy New Year!

Quality Time

talking to kids

This summer we decided against putting the kids in any camps. Drew was going to be extremely busy with summer baseball and being a bat boy for the Newark Bears. With me working part time and Dave back to work….learning on the job, we needed DJ around to help to take care of Drew. We are jokingly calling it, “Camp DJ.” I usually leave them a note in the morning, (since they are both still asleep when we head out to work), giving them a schedule of things they can do. Fortunately most things are within walking distance so DJ takes Drew to the movies once a week and to the library. Tomorrow they will walk to the train station, catch a train to Newark and while Drew gets to work as bat boy for an afternoon game, DJ can sit in the stands and watch.

At first I felt badly not giving them more to do, but I have found that the two of them are really enjoying their time together. Despite their nearly five year age difference they really get along quite well. Of course they still fight, argue and bicker often, but I have found that they are also forming a really nice bond this summer by spending so much time with each other.

I have also noticed that Drew seems to be growing up a lot this summer. I don’t know if it is the commitment to baseball, or the independence that we have given him, but he is beginning to show a lot more responsibility. He had really begun to fall apart last year. His second concussion was really hard on him and our family. We were at our wits end with how to deal with him and the mood swings. He was very withdrawn and would not talk to any of us. I really think that the time we spend in the car driving to and from baseball games, are opportunities where we are “forced” to spend time together, so it has given us the chance to reconnect. He talks about things with us now. He laughs more, he is getting back to the old Drew, but with a more mature perspective.

I have even noticed this at home. Drew was always my, “snuggly” kid. The one who would curl up on the couch or in bed just to watch television or read a book with me. He doesn’t need the tucking in or as many snuggles anymore, but he is back to letting me sit down next to him knowing that I am interested in him and what he has to say. I am enjoying this reconnecting time he is giving me. I try not to pry and ask too many questions of him because that seems to be when he shuts down. I think he is enjoying figuring out things for himself. I let him talk about what he wants to talk about. I let him take the lead, knowing that by doing so, he is becoming an independent person – he is shaping his own pre-teen identity. I will often get the one word answers when I question him about his day, “good,” fine,” “okay,” but by giving him the opportunity to talk about what is most important to him, it has opened up a lot more conversations between us.

He is passionate about so many things. He talks about baseball and is very interested in what is going on in our world. He wants to write a letter to the head of the recreation departments telling them about the importance of all kids getting a base-line concussion test BEFORE they start any sports. This has been a challenge for him but I am encouraging him to do it and I have told him that when he does, I will help him to spread the word on how important it is.

One thing that I am learning through our talks is how empathetic he is about equality. We live in a town that is so diverse, Drew knows of nothing else, so there is nothing “abnormal” about it. He goes to school with children of all races and family makeups. He doesn’t understand why people make such a big deal about it because it his “normal”. He talks about it with me often, questioning when he hears people speak negatively about it in anyway. I like the fact the he is “color-blind” and just considers everyone the same.

By having these deep conversations with Drew, it seems that we are developing communication skills that I hope he will continue to use when he hits the teenage years. By letting him initiate conversation and listen to our perspective as we give him the chance to share his, it is my hope that he will begin to see us in a different light as well. Maybe this is a step in the right direction with him. I know the teen years won’t be easy with Drew. DJ has always been our “easy kid” so although he gets moody at times, we have not had to face too many big issues…yet. Maybe this quality time they are spending with each other, and with us will be the stepping stones to a painless teenage experience….I guess I can always hope!!!!

Baseball and Superstitions


Our nights have been very busy this summer.  Drew is playing on the summer baseball travel team and weeknight games and practices have filled our evenings for nearly the entire month.  Fortunately, our family loves baseball.  We go to baseball games all of the time, whether they are Drew’s games, minor league or even a Mets Game now and then.  We are a little bit baseball crazy right now!

Baseball is one of my favorite parts about summer.   The games are so unpredictable.  They can be over quickly some nights, and go on for hours on others.  We often laugh at some of Drew’s rituals but admit that all four of us are superstitious  and have our own bits of “crazy” that we have to do to psyche ourselves up before we do certain things.  Drew blesses himself and blows a kiss in the sky to my mom before each at bat.  He carries her mass card in his pocket.  He believes in the power of his “lucky bat”.   Dave told me that before he plays soccer, (he plays a few times a week), he has a superstition about tying his shoes in a certain order and won’t tie his shorts until right before a game.  My superstitions involve me thinking that everything I see is “a sign” of something.  Butterflies, dandelion fluffs, pennies….I always think that they mean something!

Drew’s team is playing in a tournament this weekend.  Two today and two more tomorrow.  Then their season ends with single elimination playoffs which begin on Monday.  The season could go on for another week or so, or all be over as soon as Monday night.  I hope that they do well and get to play it out, but as long as they do their best, they have made us all proud.  They have learned so much this year and have come together so fluidly as a team.  They have become more than just teammates, they have become friends.

A Ball Game with Dad


Dave and my boys love going to minor league baseball games.  We have a few local teams here where we live, in fact Drew has been a bat boy for The Newark Bears for the last few summers and loves it!!  Dave and the boys try to catch as many minor league games as they can in the summers and I join them as often as my job allows.  It is a great way to get in lots of baseball without the major league prices!  This year, we started off the “2013 Summer Tour” with a game at the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Rail-Riders while we were in Pennsylvania.

Dave’s dad lives in Scranton.  It has been several years since we have seen him.  We are in touch via Facebook, but don’t get a chance to catch up very often.  We sent him a message letting him know that we would be in the area and if that if he were around, perhaps he would want to meet up at the game.  It has been so long since the kids had seen him, he did not think that the kids would recognize him!  We have seen him in photos on Facebook, so Dave and I were prepared…he has grown a full beard and it is white.  He said, “you’ll recognize me as the guy who looks like Tim Allen in The Santa Claus movies”.  He did!!  Drew said that he did not remember what he looked like, and when we thought back, the last time Drew saw him, he was probably only six or seven, so that made sense.

We got to the game about half an hour before it started and he was already there.  He was waiting for us by our seats.  I almost walked right by him!  Even with the photos, I did not recognize him right away.  He has lived in Pennsylvania for over twenty years now, and we have probably only gotten together, (either there or in New Jersey), a handful of times.

Growing up, Dave had a very different relationship with his parents than I did with mine.  Whereas my family did EVERYTHING together, (and often to an extreme), Dave’s was quite the opposite.  There was a lot of alone time, and I think Dave grew to like that.  I think it took him a long time to get used to the way my family “worked”.  He didn’t get the idea of nightly family dinners and could not believe that a typical family gathering for us, was never less than 25 people.  My parents and I rarely go a day without talking, whether it is on the phone or in person.  My mom and I used to talk a few times a day.   This again, has always been quite different with Dave’s family.  We have gone months without seeing or talking to his mom, and it has been even longer with his dad.

So today, was really nice.  A last minute plan, when we realized that we were going to be so close to where he lives.  A quick message on Facebook, led to a really nice afternoon catching up at a ball game.   Dave’s dad is not a baseball fan at all, yet he still took the time to come out and see us.  That meant a lot to all of us and now that we realize how close it actually is to the Pocono house, maybe this will lead to us meeting more often.