Baseball Players Bring Out Very Best in Kids

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Baseball Players Bring Out Very Best in Kids
By RAY HANANIA • Friday, August 31, 2012
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper
My son Aaron is a typical kid. He spends much time in one place playing Xbox and Wii, or gaming and researching on his computer or his iPad.

That’s why I love that he’s active in sports, something I was never active in.

When I was a kid in the 1950s, sports was expensive. It was expensive to go to the games, to buy the baseball cards, and really expensive to collect autographs. My dad didn’t have a lot of money but I did go to a White Sox game once in the 1950s. I enjoyed the hot dogs but didn’t pay much attention to the game.

I couldn’t afford to collect the baseball cards. When I could squirrel away a Roosevelt Dime, I’d buy a pack of “Mars Attacks” cards. It wasn’t often. (Back then Mercury Dimes were in circulation and I collected them.)

My son plays baseball. When I look past the politics of the OYA and other Southwest suburban baseball leagues that seem to circumvent rules to clout kids onto the best teams, you can still enjoy Little League sports.

The best thing I can do for him is to feed that love of sports, and get him out of the house and away from computers.

On Saturday, I took Aaron to the Baseball Card King shop in Oak Lawn at 5206 W. 95th St. White Sox rookie pitcher Nate Jones, who pitched twice this weekend, was there signing autographs.

The Baseball Card King has a great staff. Jason and RJ are just two of the clerks at the store who are great sports memorabilia historians. They love kids and, like the best athletes, take the time to talk to today’s kids.

Jones and the store staff were very generous to the kids who lined up with their fathers to get his autograph. Jones chatted with the kids, posed for pictures with them, and made them feel like they were important. The kids in the line were all excited.

Jones is the future of baseball, a tall kid from Kentucky who made the big time. It’s his first year. Who knows how far he will go with his career. But with his bright attitude, I hope he goes far.

You could see it on his face. Broad smile. Shaking hands. Always focused on the fans.

I’ve been to a autograph sessions in which the athletes spend most of their time autographing memorabilia for insiders, while the fans have to over-wait in long, uncomfortable lines. Sadly, politics infects everything. I know. I’ve covered politics for 36 years.

But Jones and the Baseball Card King were all about the fans.

If you get a chance, check out the Baseball Card King. My son could spend hours there checking out all the autographed baseball cards, baseballs, magazines, helmets and bats.

Say hi to Jason and RJ. They’re great guys and they love to help the kids. In fact, parents need to spend more time with their kids. The Baseball Card King is a great place to do it at. Take your sons or daughters. Girls love sports, too. They were in line getting autographs, too.

It’s a different world today from when I was a kid back in the 1950s and 1960s. Baseball, good sportsmanship and having a smile that can’t be erased help make it a better world.

(Listen to Ray Hanania every Sunday on Radio at 1240 AM WSBC and 1470 AM WCFJ. More information may also be obtained at http://www.RadioChicagoland.com.) — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political columnist and author. He covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at TheArabDailyNews.com, TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
Ray Hanania