When the calendar finally hits springtime, I think of two things. What could have been on my bracket and baseball is right around the corner, which for me that means the New York Mets. In the past, going to the game meant knocking back a few beers and heckling. But baseball with kids, especially a couple of little ones in tow watching everything I do), means my behavior has to change a little bit.
Instead of ripping players for not hustling, I am describing the action to the kids in the most basic way. When we have made it out to the ball park, I find myself playing games with the kids. Can you find something blue? Do you see a circle? The best moments are when your kids do something special, and you know that your kid totally gets you. When my daughter was a few months old, we took her to a game at the old Shea Stadium. The crowd started cheering for the Mets scoring a run and she started clapping. I nearly cried. I don’t know if it was from pride, or from exhaustion, or a combination of both.
Despite their flaws, the Mets have made their new home Citi Field a very welcoming place for enjoying baseball with kids. In center field, on the field level, near Shake Shack and Blue Smoke rests the 2K Sports FanFest in Mr. Met’s Kiddie Field. It features a batting cage, base running, video game kiosks, a live DJ and usually the best mascot in organized baseball Mr. Met stops by to take some pictures and meet some fans. In addition to the organized activities at Kiddie Field, there are plenty of other things around the ball park. All the levels have large wide walking areas, which are perfect to take a kid on a walk when they are getting antsy. Most levels you can still see the field. Baby diaper changing tables are located in all concourse restrooms.
Tips on taking in Mets’ baseball with kids
According to the Mets website, kids less than 32” tall do not require a ticket as long as they sit on your lap. Citi Field welcomes guests with strollers. However, their use must not limit guest movement or block aisles. Strollers should be stored under your seat or checked with Fan Assistance.
There are things that make me giddy like a little kid, and my kids love to see me excited by silly things. When a Mets player hits a home run, a giant apple appears. It blows their minds when they see it, and it is a great segue into a discussion of an important “play” in the game. What always gets me is that you can get right up to the original apple, which is right outside of the main entrance. In the third base side parking lots near Row C, the bases and pitching rubber from the old stadium are marked. On my first visits to Citi Field with my son, we stopped over by first base and I told him that my favorite all-time player used to play right here. The little guy was sleeping, but I’m sure he absorbed my excitement.
While on an uncrowded day (or even on a non-game day) you can run the bases in the parking lot. For the past few years the Mets have held Mr. Met Dash days, where kids under 12 get the chance to run the bases on the actual field, and special events on Family Sundays at Citi Field. Check the Mets’ schedule for these games.
Cheaper options for NYC baseball with kids
Going to Major League ball games can be extremely expensive, but there are plenty of other options for New York parents to take in baseball with kids.
Inexpensive tickets are available to most games on Stub Hub. If you avoid marquee games, tickets are very easy to come by. There are also three minor league teams that play in New York, whose tickets and concession prices are much more reasonable. The Mets single-A team the Brooklyn Cyclones play on Coney Island; the Yankees single-A team the Staten Island Yankees play in a state of the art stadium a block away from the free Staten Island Ferry; and out on Long Island, the Long Island Ducks play in the unaffiliated Atlantic League.
If all else fails, there is no reason you can’t grill up some hot dogs, and dress up in your baseball gear and sit down and watch the ball game on TV with your kids at home.