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Mets and mascot visit Schneider’s kids hospital

By Peter A. Sutters Jr.

As part of their winter caravan that tours many New York area hospitals, four Mets made the trip to the Schneider's Children's Hospital, part of the Long Island Jewish Health System, to give a thrill to some of their biggest fans while raising awareness for the “Let's Go Kids” program that the team supports throughout the year. This upcoming season Mets orange-colored wristbands with the words “Let's Go Kids” inscribed on them will be sold at the ballpark and Mets Clubhouse Shops and through the official catalog, with proceeds going to the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation. The non-profit organization's mission is to brighten the lives of ill children and their families through a variety of programs.”It's a lot of fun,” said Mets starting pitcher Steve Trachsel. “It gives them something to smile about.”Traschsel was joined by relief pitchers Mike DeJean and Arron Heilman and outfielder Eric Valent, who brought with them teddy bears, hats, and baseballs to autograph and hand out to the children.On this day however, the star power of the Mets was outshined by one of their biggest fans who entertained the players with a song he and his father had made up one day while riding past the home of the cross town rival New York Yankees.”The Mets! The Mets! The Yankees are poo!” belted out 6-year-old patient Tyler Sohoo to the delight of the players, who said the team may be interested in signing the young fan or at least having him try out for the TV show “American Idol.” With an ear-to-ear grin and wearing a Mets hat as a teddy bear nestled under his arm, Sohoo could not hide his excitement about meeting the players, although he could not nail down a favorite.”I like all of them,” said Sohoo. Before he could finish his thought, Sohoo caught a glimpse of the mascot Mr. Met and with some of that “Idol” charm, posed for pictures for the media that had gathered, again stealing the limelight. “Whatever we can do to help, that's our job,” said Valent while looking on with a smile at Sohoo. “It makes you remember how lucky we have it.” “It's such a wonderful day,” said Joan Alpers, director of child life programing at Schneider's. The players then went room to room visiting children who could not make it to the playroom.At each stop, a player would enter the room with a bundle of souvenirs and leave with a smile.Reach reporter Peter A. Sutters Jr. by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 173.

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