PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - This weekend, the Mets have been hosting the families of slain NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos. So, Ramos’ teenaged sons Justin and Jaden have been a presence, hanging out and meeting players.
For much of it, they have been trailed by cameras and reporters.
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But when Michael Cuddyer spotted the two in a hallway off to the side of the main clubhouse, he sensed an opportunity.
Cuddyer has been performing card tricks since he was 11. He counts Brooklyn native David Blaine as his favorite magician, mostly because of his up-close-and-personal performance style.
“There’s no fancy props, no stage,” Cuddyer said. “He walks up to you with a deck of cards.”
On Saturday morning, Cuddyer channeled the street-magician Blaine, retrieving a deck of cards before staging an impromptu show for Ramos’ sons. There were no cameras and no reporters for this performance.
Still, an audience quickly formed. Shortstop Ruben Tejada happened upon the scene and stayed. As did the the Mets’ clubhouse attendants, who let their duties slide for just a few moments.
This was no small thing. The clubhouse in the morning is a busy place, especially on days when there's a split squad. While half the room is getting dressed for pregame workouts ahead, the other half is packing up for a bus ride.
In the middle of it all are the scurrying attendants, who are tasked with keeping everything straight in the midst of the chaos.
But for a few minutes on Saturday morning, for the benefit of a couple of people who needed it, a corner of the Mets clubhouse stood still for a little bit of magic.