Some would call me a traitor.
I’m a Red Sox fan. On the wall by my desk at the library, photos of my favorite players share space with children’s drawings. At home, the television is often tuned to NESN. I spend the offseason looking forward to warmer weather and my annual trip to Fenway Park. And although he doesn’t know it yet, I’m engaged to Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
Just don’t let my “fiancé” know: this Thursday at 5:30 p.m., I’ll be hosting a program for third – fifth graders entitled “Yankees Fraction Baseball.”
Most Red Sox fans would never consider associating themselves with something related to our biggest rivals, and normally, I’d be of the same mindset. But this is a special circumstance.
The Yankees gave me a way to make kids excited about a subject that often inspires as much cringing as a strikeout: math.
On Thursday, children can adopt the identities of their New York baseball idols while using dice to practice creating and reducing fractions. Their fractions will determine how they move around a game board shaped like a baseball diamond.
As they play, Jeters and A-Rods-in-training will also touch on comparing the size of fractions. To some, this may sound suspiciously academic. As they round the bases, however, participants are likely to forget that they’re doing math and be caught up in the spirit of competition instead.
Winners will receive prizes that the Yankees originally donated to the library’s teen summer reading program: team coloring books, pencils and stickers. The memorabilia seemed more suited to younger patrons, but no foul. I had been hoping to host to a baseball-themed math event ever since I learned the rules for Fraction Baseball from my former math teacher, and current principal of Naugatuck’s Maple Hill Elementary School, Cheryl Kane. Therefore, the Yankees’ “teen” prizes were reserved for this event.
Third – fifth graders interested in winning these prizes can register for Yankees Fraction Baseball by visiting or calling the library at 203.888.6944. Younger children with some familiarity with fractions are welcome to sign up as well.
When it comes to baseball, anything bearing a team’s name can inspire passionate feelings, either of enthusiasm or loathing. Yet whether families root for the Yanks, the Sox or even the Mets, when it comes to recognizing the need to improve children’s math skills, most of us are on the same team.
I’m still going to wear my Red Sox hat during Thursday’s program, though. I mean, that's what Jacoby would want, right?