Saturday, July 4, 2020

TOP 5 MLB KIDS CLUBS

major league baseball
Baseball is getting back into the swing of things so it is time for the annual ageekdaddy.com ranking of my favorite MLB Kids Clubs this season. The pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into the normal routine of many aspects of life, but Major League Baseball is coming back with an abbreviated season that will be soon be played in stadiums without fans. Joining the kids club for your favorite pro baseball team can be a fun way for young fans to stay connected with the sport during this unique season.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic there have been some changes to MLB kids clubs in 2020. Some teams like the St. Louis Cardinals have decided to cancel their kids club programs this year. Others like the Detroit Tigers are focusing on e-mail newsletters and providing their members with swag. Then there are teams like the San Francisco Giants that are putting more of a focus on providing summer baseball themed activities that entertain and educate children who are staying close to home due to the pandemic.

This dad blogger was somewhat disappointed that teams weren't incorporating more virtual meet and greets with players and coaches as well doing autograph and promotional item giveaways to make up for the cancelled live events and perks that are a big component for many of these kids club programs.  Also it would have been nice to have seen update their swag packs with children's sized masks sporting a team's logo or mascot on it. Especially because many of these kids club programs aren't free to join. That being said maybe some of the teams that haven't cancelled kids club will modify benefits now that their staffs are getting back to work and the 2020 season finally gets going.

baseball fan


With young fans not able to go to stadiums to watch games, kids clubs can be a great way for young fans to stay connected with their favorite team. Who doesn't get excited about getting a package full of fun stuff in the mail. Many of these kids clubs have some great gear that children can enjoy while watching a ball game on television or listening to a radio broadcast. Newsletters are also nice to let kids feel like they have an inside scoop on what is going on with players and team mascots.

I've researched all of this year's MLB Kids Club and compiled a list of five of my favorite ones for 2020. A Geek Daddy has selected these Kids Clubs based upon factors that include price/value, coolness/wow factor, originality, quality of materials/swag, and branding for the program. Ranked from fifth place to Number One we have:

5. DETROIT TIGERS
kids club

Many of the teams that are continuing to send out kids club swag packs with their memberships tend to have similar content this year. They tend to include a jersey or t-shirt, sling bag, and a pair of decorated socks. Our hometown team has one of the nicer looking of these swag packs, so the Detroit Tigers slipped into fifth place in this year's ranking of the top 5 MLB kids club programs.

4. SEATTLE MARINERS
kids club

The Mariners have one of the best FREE kids club deals that includes team newsletters and some fun swag for children to get. You normally need to pick up the swag at the ballpark during a game though and I don't see them mailing it out at no charge now. So that perk may have gone away. We'll give them a pass on that though because their $25 membership package is a good deal. It is full of cool items that help make it fun for young fans to cheer on the team from home as the Seattle Mariners play through the pandemic. What kid wouldn't like to add a Mariners ballcap, bobblehead and sunglasses into their summer fun!

3. MILWAUKEE BREWERS
kids club

Speaking of fun stuff to enjoy while cheering on a team from home, the Brewers Kids Crew has some great swag with that in mind. It included headphones for listening to a game being streamed online or broadcast on the radio. A wall flag for decorating a bedroom is sure to be a hit! Plus a t-shirt to show your team pride is included as well. This is a swag pack that is sure to delight young Brewers fans!

2. CINCINNATI REDS
kids club

The Reds Heads are consistently included in this annual ranking because they have an emphasis on affordability, quality and wow factor when it comes to Cincinnati's kids club. This year is no different with its swag pack that includes a backpack, bobblehead, collectible trading pins, and jersey.

1. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Kids Club

Instead of having a focus on swag, the Giants are providing FREE virtual experiences for young fans. Their Junior Giants at Home program provides kids with a no cost online summer camp experience where AmeriCorps ambassadors provide online age specific baseball skills training sessions that also include video tutorials and messsages from team manager Gabe Kapler and his coaching staff. Also included are segments on character development and bullying prevention.

The San Francisco Giants also are promoting a variety of activities on their website to promote summer learning from home. They are heavily promoting Major League Baseball's summer slugger program, a baseball themed digital education course that is free to families aimed to help elementary school aged children who may be lagging behind because of pandemic related school cancellations. The Giants also have their own free geometry learning session for teens easily accessible on their team website. Plus the team's kids section is chock full of entertaining activity sheets that include trivia, puzzles, games and coloring pages which are free to download.

While I still HATE the Giants for beating the Tigers in the 2012 World Series. Yes I hold a grudge! The team has absolutely earned a Geek Daddy nod of approval for their Junior Giants at Home efforts! They are putting other teams to shame in how they're interacting with kids during this public health crisis.


I wanted to give an honorable mention to one other team that like the Giants is focusing their kids club this year on educational efforts. The San Diego Padres have a wonderful resource center of summer activities and educational learning opportunities on their website that is updated weekly. Whether or not your local team is promoting it, I highly recommend parents with 8 - 11 year old kids at home check out the MLB Summer Slugger program to help avoid the summer slide and reinforce some lessons that might not have been as focused on as they should have with the pandemic school closings.

There you have it, my 2020 listing of the Top 5 Kids Clubs sponsored by Major League Baseball teams. Now it is time to play ball! Enjoy the season everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

WARP NINE COMICS SHOP

Clawson Michigan
We've been sticking close to home during the pandemic with my wife or I really only going out to resupply on essentials. With that in mind, my son really hasn't been out to a store in quite awhile. So when I suggested we head over to a comic book shop to pick up some stuff to read over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend he we very excited to get out of the house.

The two of us drove over to our favorite local comic book shop, Warp 9 Comics in Clawson, Michigan. We made an appointment for a time slot to stop by as the building has occupancy restrictions as part of Michigan's coronavirus health regulations so besides the friendly staff at the store we had the place to ourselves to browse around. My son and I also wore masks during the visit but that didn't damper our enthusiasm to be experience a bit of normalcy again doing something that had just a few months again been something routine we often did together.

He was very happy to find a new issue of Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham on the store's shelves. He's been a fan of this character since seeing the animated film Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse which featured a Peter Porker cameo. This was initially billed as a five-issue mini-series that began last December. But Issue 5 which he bought during our visit is described as the Spring Finale? My son's really hopes that means this Spider-Ham series was popular enough to keep the story going!

negan lives


I picked up for myself during our visit to the comic book shop a special one-shot issue of The Walking Dead titled NEGAN LIVES! While The Walking Dead comic book series came to a surprising conclusion in 2019, its publisher wanted to do something special for retailers who are struggling due to the coronavirus impact on the economy. So The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman released on July 1 this story that wraps up some loose ties from the ending of comic book series.

The goal of this comic book is to help get people back into comic book shops. Negan Lives #1 will not be available digitally and will be available exclusively at comic book shops. Plus 100% of the revenue generated from sales of Negan Lives #1 will go to the stores selling it. Most comic shops are locally owned small businesses that depend on foot traffic to stay afloat so it is nice to see a publisher making a specific effort to do something special to lend them a hand.

Negan Lives #1 gives readers a glimpse into what has happened to one The Walking Dead's most popular characters since he was last spotted in The Walking Dead #174. The series ended with issue #193 without any definitive answer to Negan's fate. Issue #174 had Negan confronted by a vengeful Maggie, still heartbroken and furious over the murder of her husband Glenn, from back in The Walking Dead #100. It left readers with a cliff hanger on Negan's fate which is answered in this new 36-page black and white coloring book.

negan lives


When was the last time you visited a comic book shop? If it has been awhile and you are interested in getting back into the hobby, click here to locate a store near you. We are going to be relaxing this holiday weekend reading some comic books. Hope you have an enjoyable Fourth of July too!

Monday, June 29, 2020

DELIVERING SMILES

amazon deliveringsmiles
You never know who may be reading your blog? A mystery package arrived at our doorstep from Amazon. They'd read ageekdaddy.com post about how my kids sleep away summer camp experience had been cancelled due to the pandemic. So they sent some goodies our way to put some smiles on my kids faces!

Delivering smiles Amazon.com surprised our family with the new Ticket to Ride board game that lets you play with Alexa. They sent along an echo dot that provides an audio guided tour of the destinations featured in this edition of the Ticket to Ride game plus even lets you play against Alexa the voice-controlled artificial intelligence virtual assistant created by Amazon.

Ticket to Ride is a cross-country train adventure in which players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities through North America. Connect cities, monopolize train routes and complete destination tickets to become the Railroad Baron that wins the game! The game is meant for 2-6 players and takes 30 to 60 minutes to play.

super sand art


My daughter is super excited about the Sand Art kit that Amazon also sent to us.  With 7 colors of sand and 10 unique bottle designs this is sure to provide some summer fun. The kids are looking forward to designing their own sand art to decorate their rooms with a personal touch.

Also included in our Delivering Smiles package was a scavenger hunt activity book and a kids guide for exploring nature. Two nice book to capture their attention during the summer break from school. Amazon also provided an exploring nature activity kit that included a backpack, binoculars, bug collecting tools, a compass, whistle and more.

delivering smiles


Thanks for delivering some smiles to our house Amazon.com! This dad blogger appreciates your kindness and my kids are excited to have some fun with all these goodies.

Friday, June 26, 2020

SUGAR HEIST

kickstarter
Anyone who has ever hoarded Halloween candy as a kid will love a new card game created by cartoonist Alex Clark. Studio71 Games ( the producer of Half Truth, Shady Agents, Pet Evil and Tape Worm ) sent us a prototype deck to try out of their newest game SUGAR HEIST which they've launched on Kickstarter. If you want to be one of the first people to get your hands on this game don't delay in making a pledge on Kickstarter as the campaign wraps up on July 1, 2020! A madcap game of childish hijinks this game provides a sugar rush of excitement as you battle friends and family to be the "kid" who has the most candy.

SUGAR HEIST utilizes the artistic and comedic talents that have made Alex Clark a YouTube sensation to craft an energetic family-friendly game which will get players acting like sugar-hyped babies in a battle royal over candy. It can get ultra competitive but also provides a rush of goofy fun so you are sure to have a sweet time playing it!

candy cards


Players are trying to stash away 5 types of candy (Fruity Booty, Power Sours, Lucky Sucky, Nutty Butty, and Gum Yum) into vaults. You can put candy into a vault once you've obtained a matching pair of the same type of cards and once you've achieved the lock number on a particular type of sweet it is secured from being stolen from other players. Until then though other players can steal your candy from you!

The game ends when all 5 flavors of candy have been locked away in vaults. Then players count who has hoarded the most candy to see who the winner is. Plus you can earn some love from Grandma to get some extra bonus points. That just might make the difference if you win or lose in SUGAR HEIST.

vault cards


Candy Cards can be obtained in a variety of ways. You pull two cards each round from the Candy Card deck so that you can have up to six pieces of candy in your hand. If you get a pair put them in a vault. You can only put one flavor of candy though in a vault though with each player starting off with two vaults. If you need more vaults players can buy another vault by discarding one piece of candy into a discard deck.

You can also sell candy cards by discarding them to purchase Battle Cards. There are a variety of battle card options you may randomly pull from this deck. The main one is the Attack move. This allows a player to either STEAL 2 candy cards from an opponent's vaults or pull a HEIST to take 6 cards away from someone else's vaults. An attack card can be used right when it is pulled or players can hold onto it to use in a later round of the game.

In heist mode, two players randomly pull a card from the battle card deck one at a time. The first person to obtain 2 attack cards win. If it is the person who started the battle that player gets six cards from the person they targeted the heist against. But if the person who is defending their candy wins, then they don't lose anything.

attack cards


Battle Card decks in addition to Attack Cards also include Action Cards, Defense Cards, and Event Cards. The most powerful defense is the Mom Card. Players can stash this away and if someone tries to swipe or heist their candy can have Mom step in to stop the other kid. Another defense is the Grandma Card. This gives you bonus points at the end of the game so that you can makeup for candy that may have been swiped or heisted from you during the game.

Action cards are meant to create chaos in the game. For example a "Night Raid" card allows someone to steal an entire unlocked vault with all the candy inside it. This can be used immediately when someone purchases a battle card and pulls it from a deck or it can be held onto and used at a more strategic time later in the game.

battle cards


Event cards can also be randomly pulled from the Battle Card deck. These are like action cards but MUST be used immediately. For example, if you pull the "Bad Dog" event card from the battle deck it goes into play right away. When it comes to this card, a bad dog steals everyone's candy! The player declares a type of candy and anyone who has that type in their hand must place it in the central discard stack which is where people also put the candy they use to buy vaults and battle cards. Candy that is in locked or unlocked vaults though is safe from a bad dog.

Plus you can also play nice with other players from time to time and swap candy from each others hands trading for what each other needs. So you can find candy cards by pulling them from a main deck each round, trade with other players from what they have in their hands, or steal, swipe or heist candy from other players hands or vaults. Lock up as much candy as you can as quickly as possible any way you can to ultimately win the game.

dad blogger


Looking for a game that is out of the ordinary which will be fun for all ages to play together? SUGAR HEIST is something new and different to play that is sure to provide a fun time. This dad blogger and his family have had a good time playing it around the house. It can be played with 2 - 4 players. So we've had the whole family play with my wife and I having a family game night with our kids. Plus my son and daughter have battled it out against one another on the living room floor and out on the backyard patio table. This game absolutely gets a Geek Daddy nod of approval!



Click here to see more products available from Studio71 Games

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

SUPER HERO TRAINING

WARNER BROS HOME ENTERTAINMENT PROMOTION
Super Hero Training
We were visited by Batman for the first week of our Camp Warner Bros activities. This week's Camp Warner Bros. theme was SUPER HERO TRAINING. So we spent a day having some super fun with some of our favorite DC Comics heroes and villains.

First off my kids had a virtual encounter with Batman, who interacted with them via video. He led them through an amusing super hero training routine that included some fun games for our campers including, “Batman Says,” “Super Hero Freeze,” “Flash Memory Challenges” and more! Batman showed them what it takes to be a super hero!



Next the kids spent some time on xbox playing WB Games' LEGO DC Super Villains which actually lets your favorite comic book bad guys save the planet and rescue the heroes instead of being the troublemakers themselves. Sometimes it can be good to be bad! My son and daughter actually spent most of their time playing this game though as heroes utilizing the SHAZAM! DLC add-on level.

The SHAZAM! Movie Level Pack to LEGO DC Super Villains gives players the chance to master the powers of favorite characters based on the live action SHAZAM! film. The add-on lets you play as Billy Batson and transform into Super Hero Shazam, using his powerful abilities of flight, strength, projectiles, electric beam and more. You can also transform some of Billy's friends from kids to super heroes as well just like in the movie!

shazam


Now it was time for lunch. So we had a camp out inspired meal. I lit up the backyard fire pit and we cooked hot dogs stuck on sticks over the flames. Then we enjoyed popping a pan of Jiffy Pop over the fire. Yes they still make Jiffy Pop and you can find it at Walmart!

After lunch the campers chilled out for awhile doing some DC Comics coloring pages. Then they dove into our pool pretending to be Aquaman and Mera as they played around in the water. I joined in to be the villain squirting them with a water blaster. After drying off the campers wrapped up their Camp Warner Bros day of super hero training by watching the new animated movie LEGO DC! SHAZAM MAGIC AND MONSTERS. They were excited to watch this movie after having just played the Shazam! character in a LEGO themed video game.



In LEGO DC: SHAZAM MAGIC AND MONSTERS, 10-year-old Billy Batson shouts a single word and, with lightning bolts flashing, he transforms into Shazam!, a full-fledged adult Super Hero. It doesn’t take long for Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and the rest of the Justice League to take notice and invite the earnest do-gooder to join the team. But to become a member, Billy must reveal his true identity. While fighting off the evil Mr. Mind and Black Adam, Billy learns that he must trust others – and that nothing creates trust like helping those in need. Join the good fight with this giant-sized LEGO DC adventure!



LEGO DC: SHAZAM MAGIC AND MONSTERS is now available on digital, blu-ray and dvd. If you purchase the BLU-RAY or DVD of the movie from Best Buy using an affiliate link in this post ageekdaddy.com will receive a small commission at no additional expense to you. This dad blogger appreciates your support!

The campers had a super first week of Camp Warner Bros activities! Come back for more updates throughout the summer as our campers participate in more staycation activities and watch family friendly movies courtesy of Warner Bros Home Entertainment. Hope your family is having a super summer too!

DC FANDOME

dc comics
Mid-spring through late Fall is Con season. Fans of superheroes and sci-fi attend a variety of events across the country and around the world that let them interact with artists behind comic books and actors from movies and television shows. Autograph sessions, photo ops, cosplay contests, prop exhibits, informational panels, and sneak peeks of upcoming projects are just a few examples of the activities that attract thousands of people to these conventions each year. From the humongous Comic Con that takes place in San Diego to the relatively modest Motor City version hosted in suburban Detroit these events range from huge international publicity machines to local affairs that let attendees have fun cosplaying for a weekend. Have you ever been to a Con?

Unfortunately, with the coronavirus pandemic these events that congregate crowds in tight indoor spaces have been put on hold this year. All hope isn't lost though! DC Comics has just announced they are hosting their own FREE online comic con. DC FanDome will provide a virtual fan experience on Saturday, August 20, 2020. Starting at 10 am (Pacific Time), visitors to DCFanDome.com will be immersed into the DC Multiverse, with new announcements from Warner Bros. Games, Film, TV, and Comics divisions. The online presentations will also provide an opportunity to hear news from the casts and creators behind fan favorite comic books, feature films and TV series.

virtual comic con


There will also be a chance for fans to show off their own artistic and cosplay talents. In partnership with Talenthouse, DC FanDome wants people to submit their best DC Fan Art & Fandom displays. Share with them your DC Cosplay, Makeup, Tattoos, even your own Batcave! Submit at create.DCFanDome.com for a chance to be featured inside this upcoming virtual event, and demonstrate to people across the globe that you are the ultimate DC Super Fan! Selected artists will be voted on by the community on the day of the event and are eligible to win part of a cash prize pool courtesy of DC and Talenthouse.

Mark August 20 on your calendar! You can participate in live event activities online or catch up later as all the DC FanDome content will be available to view after the fact for 24 hours. Who is geeked about Warner Bros hosting DC FanDome?

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

USS DETROIT

us navy
A few years ago, my son and I had the chance to participate in the commissioning ceremony for the newest ship in the United States' Navy fleet to bear the name Detroit.  At a riverfront event in front of the Renaissance Center, Navy officers initiated bringing the USS DETROIT into service before a crowd of dignitaries, sailors' families and well wishers. With a gun salute, the first raising of the Colors over the ship, and the playing of Anchors Away, it was time for the ship to sail off for missions that could take its crew to almost anywhere around the world.

Before the USS DETROIT set sail though, we had the chance to tour the ship and meet some of the crew. Classified as a Littoral Combat Ship, the vessel is meant to operate close to shore in what is called the "littoral zone." This means it can sail into water as shallow as 14 feet deep providing the Navy with a lot of flexibility on how the ship can be used. Fourteen feet may seem deep but when you think about the USS Detroit weighing 3,480 tons and having a core crew of 50 sailors that is some pretty shallow water for a warship to be passing through.

dad blogger


The USS DETROIT is also very fast (for a ship equipped with a 57 mm canon as well 21 surface-to-air missiles, and can carry up to 2 Seahawk helicopters) powered by 2 powerful Rolls-Royce gas turbines that allow it to zip across the water like a jet ski at 40+ knots per hour. The versatility and speed of the USS DETROIT allow the Navy to operate in waters where traditional warships have been too large to engage in throughout the world. So what has the USS DETROIT been up to since departing its namesake city?

The U.S. Navy Office of Community Outreach recently provided us with an update on the whereabouts and current activities of the USS DETROIT. Right now the ship is in the Caribbean stopping narcotic shipments from being smuggled into the United States. Working in tandem with an embarked Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment, the USS DETROIT detains go fast vessels (called GFVs) that are a primary way of transporting illegal drugs into the U.S.

Hooyah! The task force the USS DETROIT is a part of disrupted a combined 112 bales of suspected contraband worth over $79.6 million in one week alone just last month. The crew is doing us proud!

navy ships

For more information about the USS DETROIT head over to www.public.navy.mil/surflant/lcs7/ and if we get more updates about the ship from the Navy we'll post them from time to time here at ageekdaddy.com. Fair winds and following seas USS DETROIT!