Mothers Day at Xina (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

To leave or not to leave. That is often the question many of us face when attending a sporting event in North Jersey, New York or Philadelphia.

Whether it’s a football game with 70,000 people on a Sunday afternoon or a baseball game with half of that on a work night you have to make a decision.  Do I wait until the end and risk spending the next hour trying to get out of the parking lot or do I bolt just a bit earlier and find myself on the highway in ten minutes?

Sometimes the game itself makes the decision for you because if the result is all but decided you can leave early and not second-guess yourself.  That was not the case Friday night as my daughter Alex and I tried to make a decision while sitting in our seats at Citizens Bank Park.  Our Mets were trailing the Phillies 1-0 and we decided to leave after they batted in the top of the 8th inning. I had been up since 3:30 in the morning and the Mets offense was rather quiet so the odds are we would not miss anything special.

Of course I have had a sports “dark cloud” over me of late so I should not have been surprised when while crossing the Walt Whitman Bridge the Mets hit back-to-back homers on their way to a come-from-behind victory and Alex and I were denied a chance to enjoy it in person.  I guess this was one night in which we should have stayed until the end because when you win the traffic doesn’t bother you as much.

Keith Smicklo’s first season as the head baseball coach at Toms River East was one filled with frustration.  The Raiders 3-17 record included six one-run losses but there was enough talent to believe things could turn around with East to become a much more competitive team this spring.

That has certainly been the case and following an upset of top-seeded Jackson Liberty over the weekend the Raiders find themselves in the championship game of the Ocean County Tournament.  East awaits the winner of this afternoon’s semifinal between Jackson Memorial and Toms River North.  For more on the OCT visit shoresportsnetwork.com.

Had a nice Mother’s Day celebration yesterday with 13 of us enjoying an early dinner at Xina in Toms River.  Spending it with my wife, mother and mother in-law was really all I needed but General Tso’s Chicken certainly added to the celebration.