I took my almost three year old son to see the Mets at Citi Field this weekend. It brought back a lot of good memories. My father used to take me to Mets games in the 70s during the heyday of Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. This game was a lot like those: A low scoring affair that the Mets would eventually lose.

This was his second major league game. My wife and I took him to his first one a little over a year ago and that didn’t go too well. It was a night game at Fenway Park and the loud crowd terrified him. He couldn’t have been more scared if a hockey-masked Wally the Green Monster had chased him around the bases wielding a chainsaw.

ebbetsfieldCiti Field was much more to his liking.  Not only was the end-of-season atmosphere more sedate than the packed house at Fenway, but it had jets. It seemed like every minute or two my son would say to me, “Look daddy, an airplane.” The planes felt close enough to touch.

The Mets did their best to recreate Ebbets Field, the old home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and I really enjoyed reading all of the little bits of baseball history that were printed on the walkway. But, for my son, the real star of the day was Mr. Met, the human/baseball hybrid mascot of the home team. As soon as he started shooting t-shirts into the stands he had won my son over. We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to spot where he was in the stadium. I don’t have too many memories of Mr. Met even though he has been around since the beginning of the franchise. My strongest early memories are of those silly golf carts that used to bring in the pitchers from the bullpen. I think those were retired as baseball started moving in the fences and pitchers started to train like athletes.

mrmet

Modern ballparks are designed to invoke a sense of nostalgia. And one day my son may care about who Bill Buckner is or what’s the difference between a two-seam and four-seam fastball, but for the foreseeable future he is all about Mr. Met. He still talks about the alligator mascots he saw at a minor league game over a year ago. It also won’t hurt that a kind Mets elevator attendant heard my son say Mr. Met repeatedly on the ride out and thoughtfully offered him a sticker of the franchise’s mascot. (Thanks, Deanna!)

Most things are pretty disposable to my two year old, but he held his sticker safely all the way home. We then placed it carefully on an honored spot on the door to his room. I hope the smiling face of Mr. Met and the roar of an airplane engine are now etched in his memory. I also hope the Mets don’t break his heart by trading Matt Harvey like they did mine when they traded Tom Seaver over 35 years ago.

But what made the whole experience extra fun was going to the game with the NYC Dads Group. Seeing one pair of eyes transfixed on an airplane is cool. But seeing a whole gaggle is truly amazing.

 

 

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