Taking an Autistic Child to a ballgame.

I am not sure if I mentioned it before, but both of my children have "high functioning" autism. What does this mean? My kids are different. Every parent learns about their children. Who they are. What they like. What their weaknesses are. One of the many "road blocks' that our children face when going out and experiencing different things is sensory. There are other issues as well, but sensory plays a major role. Sounds are experienced louder, lights are brighter, the world is an assault on the senses. Our kiddos have a difficult time filtering out and managing all of the world's inputs. A small example was my oldest son used to run back in the house because a leaf sliding across the side walk frightened him.

On fathers day we took our boys to the big "A" to see the Angels and the Diamondbacks. My oldest has been to a couple of games and is now alright in the atmosphere. He started with an Angels game a couple years ago, lasting 2 innings. His last game was a Dodgers game with my parents and he lasted the whole game and had the time of his life.

This was my youngest son's first real game. He was really excited. He talks about the Diamondbacks and Angels, how he wants to hit like they do. He watches on television, and tries to keep track of balls and strikes. He is more interested than his brother actually.

We got to the game and it started to look like it was going to be difficult. I may simply be an over protective parent but I am already analyzing the atmosphere looking for warning signs. First it was hot. Not bad, and normally it would be considered the perfect baseball weather. For our situation, the heat has the possibility to breed crankiness. Next, we have crowds. Again, it is to be expected but the more people their are, the more possibilities to overwhelm our kids. The typical summer ballpark experience. It was a perfect setting for a baseball game, but for our youngest it was already as much as he can handle.

We found our seats, already the second inning, and got the kids comfortable. The noise level was starting to get to our boys. The oldest tolerated it, he was watching the Diamondbacks and the Angels! He was trying to focus on who was who, he was filtering out the crowd perfectly. Such a big victory from where he started. The youngest was getting agitated, but nothing Cheez-it's can't fix.

This story has gotten much longer than I expected, so I will try to wrap it up here. The key inning came in 4th. Pujols did what the Angels would like him to do and took Ian Kennedy deep. As my youngest would later discribe, "people were TOO crazy." The crowd cheered as to be expected, and fireworks exploded "without warning", and my son was done. I looked over to see my wife holding his ears and bear hugging him.

He wanted to leave instantly. If it wasn't for my oldest, we would have. Instead I took him by the hand and we walked. Whenever we go out, my job is the "walker". I have seen every inch of our local movie theater. I have got great looks at the Staple Center halls, Chase Field, and Angel Stadium. This only worked for another inning and we had to leave. We stopped at the Team store and my sons got decked out in Angel T-Shirts and Hats. My oldest got a "rally monkey" and my youngest got a souvenir bat.

Post game wrap up

An exhausted family heads home. My oldest son had a blast, my youngest son passed out and looked like he had a miserable time.

That night I found out I was wrong. My youngest had a great time. He is begging to go back. The positives out weighed the negatives.

It leaves me with a mission. How to keep providing him with the experience he wants, but to help mitigate the sensory issues that overwhelm him?

After doing some quick research online I was surprised to find that the Mets seem to be leading the way here.

First they are considering a 'Quiet section' for families with autistic kids. I am not sure the details, but the conversation is started.

Secondly, the Mets also have a social story in PDF form to help kids to prepare for the ballgame. Teaches them in photos, and in a child friendly story, each step they will encounter before they even get there. The PDF can be found here. Originally published on the Mets website.

I am looking into other teams, but I haven't found this type of dedication as with what the Mets have provided. Thank you New York Mets, wish I lived closer to take advantage of it.


EBay Addition: Brendan Harris

The second card I received from EBay along with Brian Bass, was Brendan Harris. This is a pretty nice looking signature, I am especially fond of the "23" inscription". Glad to add Mr. Harris to our collection.

EBay Addition: Brian Bass

I received two more 2008 Ginter Autographs from EBay today. The first of them is Brian Bass. A couple days ago I got a response back from Jim Thome that I sent c/o the Phillies. Like the other two attempts I had sent a couple years ago I got back a letter and a post card. I will try to send another attempt but not to the stadium.


EBay Addition: Jeff Francis

I have avoided EBay purchases as a way of building the collection for a long time. I think that having crossed the line once with Granderson and a second time with Smith, that I have lost the battle on it. I believe that I have one or two more of these EBay additions coming.

Glad to add Jeff's to our collection.


Hobby & Collecting: Workspace and Man-Caves

Last week I got caught up looking at different examples of individuals collections and how they displayed them. Ultimately it ended up as research into how to set up a room dedicated to my hobby. Currently I have no room, I have a computer setup in the corner of our bedroom. My collection has no room to sit, they are in the closet or the garage. So this was much more of a daydream then planning.

It got me thinking though, how do others do it. Nachos Grande beat me to the punch though, with his piece, "How do you organize". I thought I would show five of the better collections, hobby rooms, and man-caves I found.

1. Little Cooperstown

This example, is not obtainable for me anyway. Well, not with out a tremendous change of life dedication.  I first saw this collection through this video.

There is a website for Little Cooperstown, http://www.littlecooperstown.com/. This video was one of the first examples I saw, and it led me on the journey to research how collections are organized and displayed. I will never get to this level of awesome, but it does get the blood moving does it not? 

2. PuffBear359's Card Room

This room was amazing in it's workability. It has a good mix of organization, display, and work space. Again, I do not have the scope to rival this collection but it does give a lot of room to grow. This really showed me that my collection was not a waste, it just needs a better home. I have seen those card frames in the store before, but this gave me a perspective on how they can be used. In the store they didn't appeal to me, but here they work. 

3. tenman321: My Mancave

This was where "Man-cave" started to creep into the picture. Where PuffBear359 focused toward work-space, tenman321 leans toward display. This room leans more toward relaxing and unwinding. If I didn't have space before, I obviously don't have the space for this. You can understand why this fascinates me. 

4.  Stan Tanona's Ginter Collectin (2006 A&G)

This one I have to add. Not for it's room, but this collection originally inspired my attempt to collect all of 2008 Allen and Ginter. I thought if I aimed high enough, I would have a great collection even if I missed.

5. DIY Fantasy Football Man-cave

The last one is pretty much all man-cave. It has a lot of great ideas that can be modified to fit more or less what I like and do. But, it is a DIY assisted man-cave, so it is a dream.

So, having said all of this, what do you guys have or want to build in the future. Or do you have other examples to share?


Return to the card shop

I had to run a couple errands today, and realized I end up near a card shop. I went a little out of my way, but I arrived just after opening. My goal was to pick up a couple packs of penny sleeves, and some 2008 Allen and Ginter packs or singles. I am running a bit low in some cards due to not getting them back, so I thought I would 'fill up' so to speak.

After getting there, I discovered that they didn't have any '08 Ginter, packs or singles. I did however grab a couple packs of 2012 Topps Heritage, and a Pack of 2012 U.S. Olympic Team & Olympic Hopefuls. Thanks a lot by the way, bloggers, for getting me hooked on those. You know who you are, not pointing any fingers though.

I decided to pay via PayPal, since I had a couple bucks on the account, but it ended up being a hassle. While wait for the charge to approve, I noticed a card needing rescuing from the display case counter. It was a Paul Goldschmidt auto, surrounded by over-priced Dodger and Bryce Harper auto cards. This card was forced to sit with a 5 spot price tag, next to these other cards that either by hype or region looked down on it from their inflated value status. I quickly got the attention of another employee and paid the five dollar cash bail for our new friend, and gave him a good home.


After surfing around the web, I have discovered that I should have looked closer. The card I picked up was not an auto, and the 5 dollar price tag was just as elevated as the other cards. Never go to the grocery store hungery and don't buy at a card shop in too much haste.

2011 Bowman Chrome
Paul Goldschmidt - BCP99

*disclaimer* My dislike for the Dodgers is a personal opinion that I hold for myself only. I know many Dodger fans, and some that I even like.

After getting back to my car and opening my packs, I found this beauty.

2012 Topps U.S. Olympic Team & Olympic Hopefuls
Abby Wambach - OR-AW