Mets pitchers play wheelchair wiffle ball with Henry Viscardi students

Mandatory Credit: The Viscardi Center
Mandatory Credit: The Viscardi Center /

The Mets truly do good within their community, and here is yet another example.

I should start off with a disclaimer that I have a personal bias as my brother Christopher attended this amazing school. The Henry Viscardi School at The Viscardi Center is a school that offers parents of children with severe physical disabilities and who often require life-sustaining medical treatment throughout the day, a traditional educational setting option that provides rigorous academics and opportunities for personal growth and leadership development.

Sounds pretty amazing, right? It is.

On Wednesday, Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker not only visited Viscardi students, but played a game of wheelchair wiffle ball with them.

Blevins did most of the pitching and Smoker did most of the fielding. Basketball coach and Viscardi jack-of-all-trades Joe Slaninka played first base.

As you can imagine, the students, spanning in grade-level from kindergarten to twelfth grade, loved it. They not only got to hit against professional baseball players,  but got to teach the two pros how to use their wheelchairs and play ball in them as well.

Again, sounds pretty amazing, right?

According to Slaninka, there are a lot of Mets fans in school these days. Obviously, I was very happy to hear that. Slaninka is also a Mets fan.

"“Having the Mets there was great. I’m a huge Mets fan, so it’s great to see these guys come out to the community and give back and share their experiences and inspire kids to do their best and not give up.”"

The Mets visit The Henry Viscardi School on an annual basis to hang out with the children, do a meet-and-greet, sign some autographs, and get to know the kids.

This year was even more special, as the Mets were also able to heavily take part in Viscardi’s annual Sports Night, the premier fundraising event that helps raise vital funds for the school and all of its (amazing) programs. The event was held on May 18th.

The Mets have always been able to support the event, however, as this year it fell on an off day, the entire coaching staff, as well as T.J. Rivera, Wilmer Flores, Jose Reyes, and Zack Wheeler attended and supported.

To put things in perspective of how special this was for this year, when my brother was fortunate enough to attend Sports Night he met Mets legends, such as Buddy Harrelson and Darryl Strawberry — still really cool, I know. But the fact that current players used their off day to go and support such an amazing school, is, well, amazing.

It’s a beautiful thing what the Mets do for this school, and as evidenced by both this wiffe ball game and by Sports Night, it’s not just a one time thing — and it definitely does not go unnoticed.

"“The Mets are a great organization, they do well in the community, especially by Viscardi, and we appreciate them coming to see us every year,” Slanika happily stressed. “This is something we look forward to; it’s a highlight for the kids to look forward to throughout the year. They come and hang out and be regular people with us.”"

If any school or student body deserves the Mets coming to visit them, it’s this one. I speak from firsthand experience when I say that this school make an impact on all of its students, and the Mets visiting is an added gift for all of these children.

Next: Five different types of Mets fans you’ll see in 2017

Take a look for yourself at how incredible this day was:

To learn more about The Henry Viscardi School at the Viscardi Center, please click here.

Mandatory Photo Credit: The Viscardi Center