Guest Post: Janine, of Confessions of a Mommyaholic, on Baseball

janine lead
photo credit: Starball via photopin (license)

I can count on certain certainties in life.

guest postMy daughters’ love.

My Rockies to struggle.

And for Janine Huldie to comment on my blog.

Janine, who writes Confessions of a Mommyaholic, has been a blog and life friend for years. In times when I’ve pondered the health of this blog and of myself, she’s been there to encourage. Unfailingly. Janine embodies the kind of kindness and loyalty that can help sustain you during good times and bad.

Today, she’s here to talk baseball – specifically, how a nice girl from Long Island makes the mistake of giving up her Mets for those dastardly pinstripes – and also her journey back to all things sensible.

Please give her a warm CD welcome.

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Courtesy of Janine Huldie

Take Me Out to The Met’s Ball Game…

Tearing into the Christmas paper, I truly didn’t know what to expect.

I surely never thought I would find a personalized jersey from one of my favorite Mets’ players.

But that is just what I found when I ripped open the last of the gifted package from my younger brother.

Staring down at that jersey with tears in my eyes, I could hear my late grandfather’s voice singing, “For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ball game!”

Still there it was staring back at me–#34 Noah Syndergaard–the Mets’ newest ace pitcher, aka Thor on my own personalized Jersey.

Yup, I was gifted this jersey last Christmas. But there is a pretty neat story that goes behind this one.

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Courtesy of Janine Huldie

My brother had been trying to surprise me, but when he finally went to order this jersey on MLB shop online, he found out they were sold out of them only a week before Christmas.

I guess Thor really is that popular. Who’d have guessed it? OK, sarcasm all over this one, as he is most definitely one of the hometown’s favorites having even pitched a flawless World Series start in his rookie year with the Mets.

Many phone calls later, my brother actually was indeed able to secure the jersey for me.

It took a Christmas miracle of sorts with him touching base with one of the workers at Citi Field’s apparel shop to do all she could to get this jersey specially made for me after my brother laid it on the line to explain how much this gift would mean to his sister as I am a Mets’ fan from way back.

I was indeed a Mets’ fan as a kid, because my own beloved grandfather taught me the love of the game and this team specifically.

However, there was a dark time when I was gasp–A Yankee fan, who even attended a ticker tape parade in NYC in the Yankees’ honor!

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Courtesy of Janine Huldie

How could that have happened?

I mean the Mets and Yankees are both New York home teams, but anyone who is anyone knows you either root for the Mets or the Yankees – never both, nor do you root for one and then somehow find yourself rooting for the other instead.

But I did just that for a brief respite in the 1990s, when it was the cool and in thing to do.

See the Mets were on a losing streak from the late 1980s on and the Yankees all of a sudden weren’t and actually were also the team not to be beaten.

I was a smart mouth college kid during this time and rebelling against all that I believed in and loved, including the baseball team that I was a major fan of for years.

So, I essentially turned my back on my childhood team and became a front runner for the enemy–the New York Yankees.

Bless his heart, he really let me do all of this without fighting me in hopes that I would see the error of my ways in my own due time, because my grandfather was a patient man who loved me in spite of it all.

My poor grandfather, who was incidentally a Mets fan from the team’s inception in the 1960s despite having been born and raised in the Bronx (the home of the New York Yankees), believe it or not actually took it in stride.

We even had this playful back and forth banter about it, but still his only granddaughter was watching his arch nemesis team on TV, going to Yankee Stadium (a place he swore never to darken his presence at) to see games and even as I said ended up at the very first 1990s world series ticker tape parade.

Bless his heart, he really let me do all of this without fighting me in hopes that I would see the error of my ways in my own due time, because my grandfather was a patient man who loved me in spite of it all.

I wish I could say that I did find my way back while he was still alive, but sadly he passed away before that ever happened.

Don’t get me wrong. After he passed away, I stopped watching baseball altogether as it didn’t feel right to enjoy a sport that I shared with him over the years.

What actually brought me back to my roots and my love of the New York baseball team known for their orange and blue colors?

See by this point, again I wasn’t really rooting for either team.

It actually took meeting my husband, who called me on it pretty early on in our dating.

He was then and still is a Mets fan through and through, who also didn’t mince words.

See by this point, again I wasn’t really rooting for either team. But I had shared that I was a Mets fan who had fallen out of grace subsequently following the Yankees for a few years with him early on in our relationship.

He made sure to playfully bust my chops for this and I remembered thinking, “Who is he for judging me?”

I even told him as much, because I have never been one to back down from a good fight (my grandfather could have totally attested to this).

Part of me was guilty for my former Yankees following and had a bit of my own demons and guilt to deal with. Even though my grandfather never complained, I knew it had to have not been easy to have me turn my back on the team he raised me to know and love.

I am not even sure when it happened exactly, but I finally put those past demons to rest once and for all.

This was a huge part of the reason, I couldn’t even watch a baseball game Mets or Yankees after his death.

But again it was my husband (then boyfriend) who got me to slowly watch baseball and the Mets again.

I am not even sure when it happened exactly, but I finally put those past demons to rest once and for all.

Early in the season last year, we finally took our girls to Citi Field to see their first Mets’ game. Hearing them cheer, “Let’s Go, Met’s Go!” was truly like coming home and somewhere I believe my grandfather was smiling down below that I was passing on the love of the Mets to a new generation with them.

By the way, it was a huge success as even through the rest of the season, as well as post season, my girls watched the games rooting for the boys in blue and orange.

Now, the girls are all set for Mets baseball to finally start up again and just asked us this past weekend if we could go to more Mets games this upcoming baseball season now.

For as my grandfather also would always say, “For it’s root, root, root for the Mets!”

Well, looks like they will get their wish as spring training is just commencing with pitchers and catchers reporting and we also already have tickets purchased to our first game in the regular season, as well.

So, it looks like I will get to wear my Syndergaard jersey as I am once and for all a believer of the boys in orange and blue.

For as my grandfather also would always say, “For it’s root, root, root for the Mets!”

Now, let’s play ball!

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  1. 1jaded1 says:

    Hi Janine…living in Chicagoland, I can appreciate that. You are either a cubbie fan or a sox fan…never the two shall meet. As a Tigers fan I have no allegiance to either. Enjoyed the post.

    1. Ho 1jaded!, so nice to hear from you and loved hearing that you are a Tigers fan from Chicagoland, which definitely must also have a bit of a story behind that, too 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        just don’t ask her about hockey.

      2. 1jaded1 says:

        I’m a transplant to Chicagoland. As for Eli’s comment about hockey, the Gravatar thing says it all. 😃

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        I should work on that avatar filter.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      I knew a dude who rooted for the Chicago team doing better in the standings at that moment. Bullshit.

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        Ha. That’s the word for it. One guy was almost run out of the office because he said he liked both. In college it is like picking Michigan and Michigan State. Aint gonna happen. Green or Blue.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I worked with an Ohio State fan who was best friends with a Michigan fan – they’d walk around together, and it just wasn’t right.

      3. 1jaded1 says:

        Sometimes things happen that make Earth spin backwards. I’ve grown quite fond of Buckeye and Avs fans…as people. I will never again make a bet to change my gravatar if my team loses, though. Most painful.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        i couldn’t even.

  2. ksbeth says:

    fantastic, janine. what a brother, grandfather, and husband you have. and glad you stood your ground until you were ready. my brother lives in nyc and can attest to the only loving one or the other rule, by the way, it’s the mets all the way for him )

    1. Thank you ksbeth and sounds like your brother and I would get along totally!! 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Wonder if Michelle Terry, the Royals fan, will chime in.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      team allegiance is among the most steadfast genes in the strand, beth.

  3. Thank you Eli for having me here today and honestly once again so psyched, as well as honored to be sharing my love of baseball and The Mets with all your CD readers here today 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m glad you’re here Janine – ready for the season to start, even though right now the Rockies are in first place! (Because Colorado begins with C.)

      1. Now you sound like my girls with the alphabet song! But seriously so happy to be here, my friend!!! 🙂

  4. kathyradigan says:

    Love this! I married a Mets fan, who is from a Mets family. We are not even able to say the Y word!! Lol! Great post!

    1. Aw, thanks Kathy and I know if you are a Mets fan, definitely not allowed to utter the word that starts with a “Y”!! 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        lowercase, Janine!

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      the y word! I won’t even capitalize it.

      1. Seriously, what was I thinking 😉

  5. kismaslife says:

    What an amazing feel good post to get the day started! Thanks Janie for sharing such a sweet journey with us!

    1. Thanks so much kismaslife and so glad to start your day off right with my post here today 😉

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You’d like Tiff’s place, Janine.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Go Rockies – right Tiff?

      1. kismaslife says:

        Rockies rule, even when they don’t!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        … and that’s all the time!

  6. I love Janine and what a perfect way to ring in the season! To baseball!!

    1. Thanks and I love you, too Meredith. Cheers to baseball season starting up once again indeed. 😉

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        All this love – all we need are donuts.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m ready to hate the giants, dodgers and yankees, so it must be springtime.

  7. Billybuc says:

    I get it, of course. Some of my earliest memories are playing catch with my dad…going to ballgames with him…..GO MARINERS! And Happy Wednesday, Janine!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can deal much better with the Mariners than the Seahawks!

    2. Aw, I can totally deal with the Mariners, too and Happy Wednesday to you, too Bill once again!! 🙂

  8. Jen says:

    Hah! Fun story Janine! Your sweet Grandpa. Spring training is in full swing down here in Southern Az, we are hoping to go to take the kids to a training game soon 🙂 I think we need a picture of you in your jersey!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Great request, Jen. Let’s have it, JH.

    2. I think I may need to do that when I get a free moment from the little crazies that have been home with winter break here this week – maybe on Instagram 😉

  9. Tamara says:

    That’s so Janine. She’s the best commenter in the entire world. I used to be tied with her but I fell so far behind I’m not even in the same marathon. That’s ok, though.
    Janine, I went to my first (and only) Mets game when in 1986. They won.
    I went to my first (and only) Yankees game in 2005. They won.
    Clearly I was the lucky star for them!
    I love hearing grandparent stories as I write my own today for Dana’s “Who I Am” prompt.

    1. First off, Tamara you know I just adore you and you are still in my league with commenting completely. Seriously, it is a pretty close race and you might even be beating me then and again. As for grandparents stories, I cannot wait to read yours now. And I also might have to take you to a Mets game, as it sounds like you are truly a lucky star indeed. But then again, just would be a good excuse to finally get to hang out with you 😉

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’d go, but I need to know about the food there first.

      2. Two words -Shake Shack!

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      We need you to get season tickets for the Colorado Rockies, Tamara. Seriously.

  10. My dad and sister are diehard Mets fans so they would appreciate this! Living in Boston, you know there is no way I could ever root for the Yankees 😉
    I’ve actually been to a baseball game at Citi Field — in box seats! I couldn’t believe how much bigger it is than Fenway Park, which granted is super tiny, but wow. It was a fun time, and really great to experience it with my dad and sister.

    1. Bev, I think I did know this about your dad and sister, but loved hearing it again. And also made me smile about the comment about not being able to be a Yankees fan, too!! 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        If I was a major-leaguer, I’d refuse to play for the jankees.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      There’s a replica of Fenway Park in Greenville, S.C., complete with the Green Monster, Bev. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. cgroneman says:

    Great post Janine! I’m not a diehard sports fan, but your story makes me want to watch the games because of the fun; and the ‘ribbing’ it is in the family, lol.

    1. Aw, thanks Carrie and I know we have and still do have a lot of fun times here watching baseball in our home 🙂

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s most of the fun. The food too.

  12. samwassel says:

    Lol I love the way this is written. Like you were a true turncoat during your Yankee days. I am not a huge sports fan myself, but I used to bond with my dad at baseball games when I was young. It was just the local AAA team, but still, I can understand that connection you had with your grandpa.

    In my extended family, the family loyalty rivalries lie in football. All my cousins’ houses seem to be divided: Colts vs Bears. Lol. And I’m just over here like “I don’t even watch the Super Bowl.” They must see me as a real traitor.

    1. Sam, I am really not a football person either. My husband is a Giants fan and my younger brother is a Jets. So I totally get that stuck in the middle feeling there myself. And thank you for your kind words as I truly loved sharing about my grandfather and past baseball memories here 😉

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        Baseball’s even cooler when the family gets involved. And the food.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Super Bowl XLI must have been awesome in your house!

  13. stomperdad says:

    I love the underlying message here. It’s not about baseball and who we root for. It where our roots lie and making sure we don’t stray too far from them. As an Orioles fan, I too once was not. We lived an hour from the stadium and would go to at least 4 games a summer. I loved it. But for a while I was Dodgers fan, in the days of Orel Hershiser and Kirk Gibson when they won the world series. I later was a fan of the Texas Rangers, but more so a fan of Nolan Ryan. I am back to my roots and a steadfast Oriole. It’s not about where we go, it’s about where we came from 🙂 Thanks for the baseball post! I can’t wait!

    1. Stomperdad, you said it perfectly and loved also getting to hear about your past experiences here, as well. Thank you so much for sharing with me, too!! 🙂

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      You’ve been all over the place, brother.

      1. stomperdad says:

        But I always come back to my O’s 🙂

  14. TheJackB says:

    I boo the Yankees and the Mets, Dodger fan for life! 🙂

    1. Even though you are a Dodgers fan, still friends Jack! 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        because diversity.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      dodgers fan for life sounds like a sentence a judge might hand down.

  15. I’m Canadian and I don’t think baseball is as big here as it is down in the USA – but I must say, I love to play it (even though I’m terrible and have a wildly out of control throwing arm)! lol

    What a fun post.

    Thanks for sharing Janine!

    1. Jen, you are a better woman than I as I couldn’t ever play it and god help me for how badly that would turn out if I did. But still so much fun to watch those who can. My pleasure sharing and thanks for hosting again!! 🙂

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        except the dodgers.

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Not being good at baseball hasn’t stopped the likes of my Colorado Rockies.

  16. I’m with Eli as I’m from Colorado but loved this story, Janine! So sweet that your brother got you that jersey and I was grinning at Kevin calling you out on your team loyalty! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Between you, Tiff and me, this is the largest gathering of Rockies fans since last opening day, Kristi.

  17. Cynthia says:

    Janine – I can totally see you in that jersey! And it sounds like it’s all going to be SO MUCH fun!!
    Good to see you. Wanted to stop by and say hi and see what you’ve been up to. ❤

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Cynthia – I can’t wait to look at your blog some more!

  18. Dana says:

    I’ve never quite understood the Mets/Yankees rivalry, but then again I’m not from a city that has two teams. Sounds like going back the the Mets was the best thing for your marriage, Janine!

    I still miss the 1983 Orioles.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Eddie Murray, Lenn Sakata, Storm Davis, Tippy Martinez, and, oh yeah, that Ripken kid. Helluva team.

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