The Matzav Shmoooze: My Son and the Yankees


pinstripes-yankeesDear readers,

It was a dilemma of mine last year and I am faced with it this year again. With baseball season here again, I am concerned about my mesivta-age son’s obsession with “his” team, the Yankees. I understand he needs a healthy outlet and a way to unwind, but I am unsure where to draw the line. Am I supposed to just look away as he listens to the games on the radio religiously?

He is a good boy, who learns well and is otherwise well balanced. He has a long school day schedule at what I consider a quality mesivta. But he likes baseball. Maybe a little too much at this point. How do I deal with his strong interest in the Boys from the Bronx?

Your opinions are greatly appreciated.

A Father


The Matzav Shmoooze, formerly the Matzav Rant, is a regular feature on that allows all readers to share a thought or analysis, long or short, one sentence or several paragraphs long, on any topic, for readers to mull over and comment on. Email submissions to

{Edited: Yossi Newscenter}



  2. In todays matzav a bochur who relaxes w/yankee game and nothing else should not be a cause for “major” concern- there are so many other treif chazer outlets for them that you have to be mistapek bmuat- feel fortunate that this is his only vice-
    He should eventually outgrow this as well- IY”H

  3. If he learns well and is otherwise well-balanced as you say … then ask him how the Yankees are doing? Show a little interest … watch a game together.

  4. As a psychotherapist specializing with adolescents, I would like to point out how fortunate you are to be faced with this “dilemma.” Many frum teenagers have far worse problems than what you are describing. Your son has a healthy outlet and you should be relieved that he is not into other types of outlets like TV, music, movies, or hanging out with the wrong crowd.
    You point out that your son is learning well in yeshiva and is otherwise well balanced. Teenagers, especially nowadays, need outlets. Taking this away from him and forcing him to stop following his team could be damaging both to your son and to your relationship with him. You can explore some of your concerns in a calm and non threatening manner, but should not push him. Again, you are quite lucky and should be maker tov to Hashem to be dealing with this “issue.”

  5. When I was in yeshiva, the Yankees were in the World Series. The yeshiva officially had a policy of no radios allowed in the dorm. They announced that for the World Series, they would allow radios.

  6. Depends on how you raised him, his background, your affiliations and standards and a myriad of other factors. If it really bothersyou then find him another outlet, like buy him a guitar and get him lessons.

  7. I know what you feel like cuz I have the same thing, not with my son but with my husband. At first, it bothered me and I tried to stop it, but then I realized that its a healthy outlet and I rather he be busy with that than find worse pastimes. But than again-he is not a mesivta age boy anymore, but a working father and husband. I think you shouldn’t fight it, because than either he will hide it from you or he will resort to something else. I think open communication is the key-Sit down, talk to him, show that you are interested in it maybe ask some questions, and only then can you set guidelines. you are in it with him not against him. My husbands advice? take him to the park and play with him there-you are in it with him, not against him.
    hatzlacha rabba

  8. you say “He is a good boy, who learns well and is otherwise well balanced” Dont distrub the balance chances are at least 50/50 (though probably more so) that you wont be happy with the result, luz leben

  9. Mesivta boy who listens to the Yankees religiously? Doesn’t his mesivta have a night seder? And if not, how can you consider it a “quality mesivta”?

  10. parents like u r the reason we have problems not the youth now adays let kids b kids u r a parent n crises your son sounds like a gr8 kid pleez some1 get him out of that house now

  11. I think it is a harmless interest. A gemorah kop likes the structure of baseball and the scoring etc.My feeling is that you will do a lot more harm by “assering” this than merely keeping tabs on it and making sure that it remains a hobby and not an obsession. He would not be the first person in a white shrit and black pants with tzitis hanging out and a Yankees cap on at the game. Once you ”
    asser it” it becomes “forbidden fruit” so to speak and can be very enticing. And here is a news flash for you…he is going to follow the game whether you assur it or not, so why make him feel bad about following a very nice wholesome game. About my credentials…5 kids, 1 son currently on Shanah Bet in Israel, top student, Masmid, mensch, working at HASC this summer, so I ken ayin hora, know how to raise some good kids.

  12. My suggestion is you use it as a weapon for good. There’s no point in talking him out of following the Yankees as (1) he’s obssessed as you are suggesting and (2) it’s not the end of the world for young frum teenagers. In addition, young teenagers in today’s society need to satisfy their guf. If your kid has obsession tendencies, you are better off keeping him occupied with baseball rather than other outlets which could be damaging.

    So what I would do is encourage baseball but conditional that he also does well in Yeshiva. I would try to make him a well rounded individual by saying baseball is OK but Gemara is important too. I’d make goals taking him to games (and tickets are dirt cheap on if he does really well in Yeshiva.

  13. why do baseball issues matter to us Torah Yidden?
    did it matter when cliff lee signed with philly? its true that many follow sports ,yet, it is shtusim with absolutly nothing beneficial to yiddishkeit may be an outlet but it should not be spoken in public.

  14. I know one balhabus who has season tickets to Knicks, Rangers, Mets and Yankees. He took his four sons to many, many games while they were growing up. He also made learning and SIMCHA SHEL MITZVAH an integral part of the mood in the house.

    You should see these boys today. Lamdanim, and geshmake Jews.

    Your son will eventually focus on more important things in his life. Don’t touch it. If you really want to score points- do some research and find out some of the popular Yankee players names. Drop them in a conversation- and see what happens.

    You will not regret it. You will form a strong kesher with your son. That’s what we need today. Hatzlacha!

  15. At least he’s not a Met man – he’d be in depression.

    The Yanks will win another ring this year boruch hashem. The bullpen looks solid, the lineup is great, the starters I am unsure but we’ll make it through.

    The Grandy Man can! The Grandy Man can!!

    You’re on the Mark Tixiera!

    Don’t you know!


  16. Dear Concerned Parent,
    As a teenager myself, my outlet happens to be playing music and not sports, however many in my class choose sports as an outlet. Sometimes it appears to be outrageous how obsessed these boys are. I’ve seen boys go back to the dorm early from night seder to listen to a game. Eventually, most of these boys who are good boys started to choose their priorities of their own accord. For many of these boys, they toned down their interest in sports. SOme avid sports fans, with no pressure from the administration or their parents learned enthusiastically a couple months ago during the night of the Super Bowl.
    Problems arise with parents who try to limit these outlets. While some boys can take it, others avert to sneaking in movies, listening to non-Jewish music, following the lives of celebrities, and other negative outlets.
    I think that if your son is a good boy following sports; while not the best of outlets, should not be discouraged. Don’t force other “outlets” upon him. This is his “thing,” so be it.
    Eventually he will realize of his own accord what in his life takes precedence. Please don’t try to decide for him as it can only have a negative impact.
    Hatzlacha rabbah, and make sure to show how proud you are of him when he comes back from a “geshmakeh night seder” or finishes learning with a great chavrusah. Always encourage him, and make sure he knows you believe in him and his ability to choose exert his common sense and use his own judgment.

  17. It’s a scary world. You can do your best to drill proper hashkafa and you spend time with your kids and still one day he wakes up and says “Dad..I think I’m a Met fan”.

    Consider yourself blessed that you have no cause for concern.

  18. I would say as long as he only listens to the radio and doesn’t feel the need to watch the games on TV it should be allowed as a semi-Kosher outlet. Watching it on TV is not a kosher outlet and if he needs to watch games it will lead to other things guaranteed!

  19. ASHRECHA ASHRECHA!!! Go yanks go!!! #28 here we go!!! 28 is gematria koach!! The Yankees are tradition – like gefilta fish!!

  20. Count your lucky stars he’s not a mets fan! That would mamash be a chaval!! For that we’d switch the name back to the “Matzav RANT”!!! Simchos!!!

  21. Is it an obsession, or is it an OBSESSION? Because anything in excess can be bad. (OK, except Torah) If it’s interfering with his studies, it’s a problem. If not, letting him get wrapped up in it can be a good way for him to blow off steam (and keep him from worse things).

  22. This letter is pathetic and I hope a April fools joke. Furthermore the comments by midwesterner and Rav are absolutely embaressing,

  23. I am so relieved to find that most commenters are open minded healthy people!! This is great!! Let’s go Yankees!!!!

  24. I am a bais medrash bochur who has dealt with this problem for years.(just ask my parents and friends)but my obsession wasnt(and isn’t) only for my yankees but also the giants knicks rangers. I never had an offseason from sports and i never opted out of my contract which i came to accept would be a lifelong one. However, as i have gotten older and while I still enjoy it I know longer feel the same obsession especially since I began integrating mussar into my daily life. Though, if someone had given me a mussar sefer back then i’m not sure it would have helped. I daven every day that Hashem help me fight this tayva but at the same time I thank Him for making this my main yetzer hora nisayon and not some of the other shtusim. At the end of the day its important to remember its “hakol hevel urius ruach”. While I am not on the level to give advice I feel the father’s dillema since I know what my father went through. I expect though that with Hashem’s help if he taka is into learning he will grow out of it mostly but tefillos don’t hurt.

  25. We do not need to change the record every day in life. Let the boy have his loves and make him smart in your day as well. It is not going to kill him though perhaps he wont be the head of his class academically. Is that poverty or just a man who wants to be his own man. I give him a cigar and stay up all night teaching him the right way to spend his dollars in the snack bar of success. It will not kill your son and he will be smarter just in another outlet. Who knows. Perhaps he is destined to be a sports announcer which may not be what the Torah world wants to endorse but who is to say that that is not God’s mission. Lots of interesting things come from liberalism. Be good and trust in Hashem.

  26. comment to social worker comment number 5 above: There is no such thing as an “outlet”. We do not stick our fingers into the sewer of life and pull out baseball mitts. We live to bring our brains to a good healthy state of affairs. So be a psychotherapist all you want to be. I am a medical doctor and I say that we need to consider out terminology. An outlet is for the fools and a passion is for the righteous. Get that in your vernacular. Many thanks.

  27. I didn’t study or know what gemarra was when I was a youth. I had no yeshiva and I was publically educated. I played a ton of video games. I am now a medical physician and feel that I can make good contributions in my lifetime to the humanity of our years and lives. So thats not bad huh? Maybe if I had done the yeshiva route if perhaps my father and his father were orthodox Torah jews I might have found Torah at a younger age. That said, I say I am healthy and working hard today. So let the kid have his passions, but beat him a bit if he doesn’t work hard on the field of humanity. Best wishes.

  28. This is a question that should be spoken with your rav or rosh yeshiva.why does everyone nowadays think their opinion counts?since when did everyone become daas torah?its not as simple as it sounds,and it really depends on lots of diffirent factors.HATZLOCHO!!