Posted in Baseball, New York Mets

Changing times, changing teams

The New York Mets are expected to announce their purchase of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs baseball team as soon as tomorrow, according to a report by Syracuse.com’s Mark Weiner.

The move will help the Mets consolidate their minor league baseball operations, with three of their top five farm clubs playing in New York State as of 2019. (The Las Vegas 51s have been the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate since 2013, but due to travel that has been less than ideal.)

When I was growing up, my father frequently took us out to the Scranton, Pa. area to visit some of his friends. He usually managed to time it so that the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Red Barons were home… and sometimes it worked out that they were playing the Mets’ affiliate, the Tidewater (and later, Norfolk) Tides.

It was a magical experience to be able to sit at field level and be able to ask the players for autographs at Lackawanna County Stadium. If we went out to Shea Stadium, Yankee Stadium or Veterans Stadium, we sat in the upper deck and it felt like we were closer to the players at home watching on TV.

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John Maine pitches for the Norfolk Tides at Lackawanna County Stadium in 2006.

The last baseball road trip I took with my dad was Easter weekend 2006… we watched the Red Barons and the Tides open the International League season. I don’t remember who won the games (although I do recall one of them was played in just over two hours.)

I got autographs from a newly-acquired prospect named John Maine, who would make two starts in the National League Championship Series that fall; from Lastings Milledge, who would earn the ire of some of his teammates when he high-fived fans following his first MLB home run later that summer; from Ray Navarrete, who I’d watched win an Atlantic League Championship with the Somerset Patriots the previous year; and Jose Lima, who’d be pitching for the Camden Riversharks a couple of years later.

In 2007, the New Orleans Zephyrs became the Mets’ Triple-A team — and they play in the Pacific Coast League. Scranton Wilke-Barre became a New York Yankees’ affiliate. For a Mets fan and a Phillies fan, Lackawanna County Stadium lost its appeal.

In truth, the travel had gotten to be too much for him. We went to Atlantic League games closer to home for a few more years, until dad’s health declined too much for that to be possible.

It won’t be the same without him, but I’d like to go see a Mets’ affiliate play a Phillies’ affiliate again. In 2019, maybe I’ll get my chance.

Posted in Odds & ends

Be the good

This has been a terrible week.

Whether it’s a man who decides to bring an arsenal to a hotel and open fire on people attending a music festival or a president who is more upset about a hurricane’s affect on his budget than he is over a million U.S. citizens who do not have access to safe drinking water, there’s bound to be something in the news every day that will enrage and/or disgust you.

It’s overwhelming.

But in the midst of all of the awfulness, you can find people trying to do good if you look. After the Las Vegas shooting so many people came to donate blood that lines stretched for blocks.

3250_1506888850920On Sunday, I joined other members of my small church in helping to assemble 10,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger after our worship service on World Communion Sunday.

Rise Against Hunger is an international organization that is devoted to ending world hunger. While one focus is on providing crisis support, Rise Against Hunger also works with local partners to make sure that children get food so they can go to school instead of needing to work (or beg) just to have something to eat.

I’m lucky enough that I can’t imagine what it is like to really be hungry and to have no idea when or where my next meal is coming from. But that’s a reality for too many people in our world. I don’t imagine that the two hours we spent on a Sunday afternoon are going to solve the problem, but we did something that we could to help.

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Later this month, I’ll be participating in the Cranford CROP Walk to raise money to fight hunger both within our local area and around the world. It’s something that I can do. And if you can, I’d appreciate your help – whether in the form of financial contributions, prayer or just good thoughts.

We can’t let ourselves get so caught up in anger or despair that we give up. We’ve got to believe that there is good in the world, and then do what we can to be the good in the world.