Editor’s Note: As you know, we at NYC Dads Group love our New York Mets — even more so now that they are fighting this week to beat the Cubs (2 and 0, baby!) to play in the 2015 World Series. In this post, member Jason Greene writes about how his daughter had a once-in-a lifetime experience at Citi Field waiting for a Mets game to start.
Usually when fans go to a baseball game, it is their team that provides the special memory. On this beautiful day at Citi Field, home of our beloved New York Mets, a visiting player gave our family a special moment.
If you have ever gone into the outfield seats for batting practice at a home Mets game, you know how annoying kids can be. That might be kind of harsh coming from a dad blogger, but it is the truth. In the outfield bleachers, hundreds of young children, teenagers, and even grown men shout at the players in hopes of getting a ball thrown their way. Usually, a player will toss up a ball to quiet the yelling crowd. Sometimes though, when a visiting team comes into town, the heckling crowd is so annoying that the visiting team never tosses balls into the crowd. And who could blame them, given the comments that are coming from behind them?
My daughter is not one of the kids that yell at the visiting players, but she was surrounded by annoying boys who pushed and jostled her, significantly decreasing her chances of catching a ball. My daughter is very petite. She just turned 9, but she was born a preemie and at times can be overshadowed by much bigger kids.
She stood along the wall with her glove out, not really expecting a ball to come her way. In fact, I think she may have even hoped that nothing would come her way – she was simply having fun being part of the crowd. I stood behind her for protection, in case anyone tried to run over her while chasing a ball. Aardsma was shagging balls in the outfield and caught a ball near the wall. He turned to toss it into the crowd and found my daughter. Pointing up at her, he motioned for the boys to step aside and yelled, “This one’s for her,” and tossed the ball up into the bleachers for her to grab. The ball bounced off her glove and fell to the ground. A mad dash ensued for the ball, but I was right there and picked it up and handed it to my daughter. Aardsma yelled at my daughter to throw it back to him, and she did. He yelled instructions up to her on how to catch a ball and threw it back. Again, she dropped it. And so this game of catch continued – a big-league player instructing a 9-year-old girl on the proper way to catch a baseball. They threw it back and forth 10 to 15 times.
Now, the Atlanta Braves were not on my daughter’s radar of teams that interested her. But because of a game of catch with a MLB player, the Atlanta Braves have a new admirer. Actually, David Aardsma has a new admirer.
I didn’t know anything about Mr. Aardsama, other than that he is a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves. So I looked him up on Twitter and saw that the first thing he has listed on his profile is “Baseball and family.” The way he interacted with my daughter proves that he really does believe that baseball and family are things to be cherished.
I wanted the ball to go on her shelf, along with her other special things collected over the years, but she chooses to carry around the ball in her purse. After all, you never know when a game of catch will break out.
A version of this first appeared on One Good Dad.