Thanks Mo, it’s been a fun ride

652. The number 652 is a special number. A number that represents baseball history. A number that will probably never be surpassed. 652 is the number of times Yankees closer Mariano Rivera saved a game. His career has come to an end. As a fan of baseball and the Yankees, I can only say thanks Mo.

I grew up watching the “Core Four;” Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Derek Jeter. To see these players retire is bittersweet. I finally understand how previous generations felt when the baseball stars of their childhood called it quits. Yes, we still have Jeter, but the Yankees are not, and won’t be the same.

Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rivera is a true great of the game. The farewell ceremonies, gifts from other teams and most importantly, the respect from baseball fans around the country are a true testament. Baseball fans are hard-pressed to find a current star, in any sport, that matches Rivera’s professionalism and class.

If my son were to have a sports role model, or “hero,” I would hope it would be Rivera.

In five years, I hope to be in Cooperstown celebrating the induction of Mariano Rivera. I’ll bring my son of course and tell him about watching all the championships and the coolness which Rivera went about his work.

Enjoy retirement Mo.

I hope you enjoyed this post. All comments and feedback are welcome and encouraged!


Time to start a family tradition with football

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a baseball fan. But I’m also a football fan. College Football or the NFL, it doesn’t matter. On any given Saturday, the sounds of a college game can be heard in my house. On Sunday, we plan around the New York Football Giants. In fact, I’m looking forward to 4:25 Eastern today.

Watching football is a tradition in my house. Last year, our little guy wasn’t into the television. He was just discovering he had hands. But this year, it’s a little different. When he sees the game, he fixates on the movement and the sounds.

This is great for me, because I now have an excuse to watch football. Sorry mommy.

My hope, as Little A grows older, is for us to watch football together. I’m not sure if I want the little one to actually play football. The concerns surrounding concussions and other potential injuries weighs on me. At the very least, I hope we enjoy watching games.

This football season I hope to start the tradition. Something father and son can share and remember as he gets older. Unless of course he likes the Jets.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Comments and feedback are welcome and encouraged!

Hunter Mahan, A Dad’s Golfer

Hunter Mahan

Hunter Mahan (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

Hunter Mahan withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational to be with his newborn daughter, Zoe. Kudos to Hunter Mahan. I’ve spent much time this week pondering a post about this. I wasn’t going to write anything, but then it dawned on me, what a great story.

Lately it seems no matter where we turn, some professional athlete, (I won’t debate here whether pro golfers are athletes) is doing something bad. The traditional media, and social media, are all over it. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you’ve been bombarded with Aaron Hernandez, Alex Rodriguez, and now the unfortunate yet not uncommon tribulations of Heisman winner Johnny Manziel.

Mahan’s story put a smile on my face. I was glad to see he put the career aside and his family first. I’m always saying there’s more to life than money. Thankfully Hunter Mahan proved me right.

I Hope My Son Is a Yankee Fan: A Sunday Morning Musing

I hope my son is a Yankee fan. At least, I hope he’s a baseball fan. Right now, Little A is too little to understand baseball. But, as a lifelong fan of the game, and lifelong fan of the Yankees, I hope the love of the game will be something we share.

English: New York Yankees slugger during the N...

If he’s a fan of the game but not of the Yankees, I won’t be disappointed or upset, unless he’s a Met or Red Sox fan. I’m sure however, much conversation and probably numerous father-son moments will occur.

Following sports I think will be useful in teaching lessons to the little guy. I also think, following sports in today’s world will be more complex than the days of Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio. Where did you go Joe? Twitter didn’t exist, blogs didn’t exist, sports news wasn’t a twenty-four-seven cycle. The way these athletes were off the field, wasn’t common knowledge and rarely discussed in the sport media. Sports in general is more reflective of the world around us than ever before.

When talking about the Yankees I hope I won’t have to explain steroids and the desire to cheat to get ahead, but I know I will. When talking about sports, I will have to talk about off-the-field situations like Aaron Hernandez.

Professional athletes are not bad, unfortunately like any other profession, there are a few bad apples that spoil the bunch. I hope my son is a Yankee fan so we can share in the history of that franchise and what it represents about sports.  I also will teach him that sports are just sports. That professional athletes are just people and these men and women are not heroes.

In the end, I hope my son is a Yankee fan. If nothing else, I want to hand down my Yankee collectibles and know they won’t end up in a yard sale.

Sunday Morning Musings: When Athletes Create Parenting Challenges

NEW ENGLAND Patriots Wallpaper

NEW ENGLAND Patriots Wallpaper (Photo credit: Axel.Foley)

I’m a football fan. So naturally, I’ve followed the shocking events surrounding former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. I’m fortunate because Little A is too young to know what’s going on. Daddy get’s a reprieve from having to explain.

I will give some kudos to the Patriots’ organization. On July 6th and 7th, fans can exchange their Hernandez jerseys at the Patriots’ Pro Shop. They understand children won’t fully grasp the meaning, but parents do.

As an avid sports fan, I’m guilty of undue hero-worship when it comes to professional athletes. Media, and the athletes themselves have successfully sold us on how great these individuals are. In the end, they are only human and they are doing what they do as a form of entertainment.

Athletes are not heroes for their on-field accomplishments. This is a point that I will stress to my son (if he’s even into sports), and I think this is a point that many parents need to make to their kids. We see the money, the fame, the mansions, and naturally many of us say we want that for our kids.

I still scratch my head over the Hernandez situation. I fear I will have to explain situations like this to my son. Not because he shouldn’t know, this is the world in which we live; but, because this isn’t the way the world should be.

My thoughts are with the innocent victims in this, and all these situations. Kudos to the Patriots for their actions. Good luck to all the parents who have to explain this one.

Relaxing As a Dad: The Super Bowl

Believe it or not, watching the Super Bowl with a baby isn’t as stressful as one may think. I was concerned over being distracted. However, Little A kept himself relatively occupied. At points, he didn’t want anyone touching his toys. He was transfixed.

Granted, there were times during the game I was standing and swaying from side-to-side to keep the little guy calm. In the end, I think Little A’s first Super Bowl experience went well.

He wasn’t all that impressed with Beyonce, but I told him the Halftime Show isn’t what we really watch the game for. He raised his brow, stuck his tongue out, screeched in agreement, and went back to the bright, red and yellow giraffe toy.

Little A finally went to bed just before said “blackout.” Fortunately, Alicia Keys was still singing the National Anthem, so we turned the volume up and that helped to serenade the little one to sleep.

I look forward to next season. I look forward to a Super Bowl where I probably will get more exercise than any previous Super Bowl. How you ask? Little A will be approaching the age of two. Do you think he’s going to sit around? I digress.

In the end, I would say my Super Bowl XLVII (47 for you non-Roman types), experience was a relaxing one. I’ve posted before about watching sports and relaxing as a dad. We can include the Super Bowl too.

Sports, “Heroes,” and Fatherhood

Manti Te’o, Lance Armstrong, Mark McGwire, Tiger Woods; do these names represent heroes? I’ve found myself struggling lately with the idea of sports “heroes.” Athletes, professional and amateur alike are placed on a pedestal like no other. I myself have done this in the past. Growing up a New York Yankee fan, I idolized Don Mattingly. He was, and still is my favorite baseball player. I had the fortune of watching him in person play the game he loved. The “old” Yankee Stadium humming from tens of thousands of electrified fans. The chant of “Donnie, Donnie.” For a twelve-year-old kid, it was magic.

I would carry my glove to school. I would play in my backyard like I was a first baseman wearing number 23 in pinstripes. My friends and I would play home run derby like we were all-stars. For us kids, these were our heroes. I remember jumping up and down when McGwire’s 62nd home run squeaked over the fence. These athletes could do no wrong.

This past week, baseball lost Stan “The Man” Musial. The times in which he played were different culturally and politically. Yet, from the perspective of sports fans, not much has changed since his time. My struggle now is more than rectifying with my past. The struggle has more to do with my son than anything else.

I’m a father and a sports fan. I relish the thought of watching sports with my son. I envision taking him to a store to pick out his first baseball glove. I love the idea of going out in the backyard for a simple game of catch. I want to show him how to throw a tight spiral with the football. I look forward to the day I can convince my wife to get a basketball hoop for the driveway. Watching and playing sports are things I always envisioned doing with my child, regardless of gender. My struggle now is how do I explain to him, that athletes are simply people doing a job? How do I explain to him the situations we see on TV, read on the web, or hear on sports radio? How do I explain things like doping, steroids, and hoaxes?

Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much? Who is to say he will even enjoy sports as he gets older? But what if he does? How do I explain to him my collection of Mattingly baseball cards? Our technological world allows for instant awareness of situations that children will find difficult to comprehend. After all, the athletes are people just playing a game.

I suspect I am not the first, nor the last father to struggle with this concept. We all consider different people to be heroes. The irony for me, is the person I worry about explaining this to is my hero. Who’s yours?

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