In May, my 5-year-old son and I draped his room with blankets from wall to wall, crawled and flew around the world in our imaginary spaceship. Jacob chose places we couldn’t go because of the coronavirus, so we ended up on the roof of Grandma’s house in the village and on the sloping roof of Big Ben in London – so our first friend Paddington could see his city.
The baseball season was then interrupted, so we didn’t fly to Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, but those are two other favorite places we couldn’t visit together this year. Among the victims and losses of this pandemic, the inability to take my son to a baseball game is nowhere a priority. But I missed a trip with him and his little brother Peter. Mainly because Jacob knows baseball has something to do with his father’s work, but he has recently become more interested in the sport by asking new and complicated questions about the games we watch on TV.
Jacob was especially curious how the Houston Astros used the cameras to cheat. He is obsessed with cartoon thugs, their evil robots and flying factories. He has an extraterrestrial imagination, and he likes to hurt himself by spying on Mom and Dad in the first place. He’s very bad at it – he’ll crawl on my legs when he’s spying on me at work under the table – but I play the game and he likes it. We love her.
Which made it irresistible to see his face in a place he couldn’t go this year, and spy on the New York Mets like a cardboard cutout all season long. When I heard about the press cuttings, an idea taken over by more than half of the Major League baseball teams last season – and in the case of the Mets, whose win goes to the team’s charity – I asked him to pose for a short photo. I didn’t tell him why. I didn’t want to disappoint him if he never saw it. Then I bought one.
Shortly after, I received an e-mail stating that Jacob’s cord had been installed at Citi Field. I can’t wait to look at it. I wrote to the Mets to ask them for a location and, better yet, a photo, but they didn’t provide this information at first.
So I enjoyed a small advantage of my work as an ESPN MLB editor: unlimited access to high-resolution game photos. In my spare time I had to watch hundreds of photos and videos of the home matches of the Mets looking for Jacob. I never found it.
And when I thought it was enough to know he was there, the Mets sent me his exact seat and section number. In a home run in the left field, he was in the best position.
Later I saw it on video, also in September, when Pete Alonso saw the New York Yankees in the Subway series – but first I found this picture of Mike Stob from Getty Images :
Fault! The file name is not specified. If, for example, it is directly behind the marble, finding a fan cut can be similar to finding a needle in a haystack … Mike Stobe/Getty Pictures…
I enlarged the Wahayi. …and Jacob was there. When I finally got my hands on the long-awaited photo, I did a consciously uncalibrated installation job and finished it:
Fault! The file name is not specified. …although it is useful to have very good virtual twins. Photo illustration
I couldn’t stop laughing. I sent it to Jacob’s mother, his grandparents, his aunts and uncles, my colleagues and almost everyone else. It’s also time to tell Jacob. I wasn’t sure if he’d like it, but I thought at least he had a typically unexpected vision.
I was right.
But, Daddy, he said that when I proudly showed him the picture: Where are you? Where are you?
Fault! The file name is not specified. The recovery of the Mets cut was unexpected – and appreciated. Matt Marron/ESPN
The team was generous and green enough not only to throw thousands of cuttings in the garbage, but also to let the fans in safely and take them home. The morning of the 7th. The NLCS games brought us on the day of the elimination of the Mets fans.
We waited about 45 minutes, walked along the River Way, wore masks and finally arrived on the 3rd floor. Jackie Robinson’s rotunda.
An employee of Mets – I didn’t get his name – took our information and disappeared for a while. He came back with Jacob’s cleavage and, knowing exactly what every horny father like me wants, he thought it was a picture above his head.
Fault! The file name is not specified. I’m going to hang him from the ceiling, said James, who wears his Halloween pirate hat on his head so I can look at it and see him from my bed, Matt Brown/ESPN.
Jacob liked it. We went to a Halloween party at the Bronx Zoo and he was wearing his pirate costume. He took his hat from the skull and bones and laid it on the head of his cardboard cutlet.
I want to hang it from the ceiling, he said, so I can watch it from my bed.
We brought it home that night, and at least I put it on Jacob’s shelf for a while, right behind the T-trophies that all players in his league received last year, but of which he is incredibly proud. He hasn’t played T-ball this year.
I read him a book and went downstairs to see how the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Atlanta The Brave in game 7. I was thinking about what he said when he said he bought the cutout and what he meant by that. Like he asked, first of all, where his father was.
Part of me wish I had two… …or even a third for his little brother. I couldn’t sit next to my sons at a baseball game this year.
It could have been worse. And hopefully I’ll be with them next year. Really, I am.
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