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Cheer and Loathing at the Chicago Cubs Game
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday June 14, 2013
By Ray Hanania
For most adults who go to Wrigley Field, it’s all about the booze, the broads and boorishness.
But for most kids, it really is about baseball. They haven’t figured out that most athletes are on steroid’s and illegal drugs, and too rich to appreciate baseball fans.
That’s why it is so nice between women spitting out peanut shells, burping over their beers that are sold long after the 7th Inning ban, and men cussing up a storm of obscenities, that a young idealistic kid can meet someone who symbolizes what baseball is supposed to really be all about.
I took my son Aaron to the Cubs game against the Pirates Sunday. The overcast clouds keep the park from baking. I know enough that most Cubs ballplayers will not autograph baseballs before or after the game, so I bought him one for Cubs Shortstop Starlin Castro.
But, he also hung around with a dozen other kids his age along the wall before the wealthy could commandeer their expensive box seats in rows A, B and C. None of the Cubs players would come up and say hello or autograph balls during the entire two hours that the kids stood there pleading to the players by name holding up baseballs and pens.
A kind grounds-keeper, probably in his teens who understands the lost allure of baseball, grabbed foul practice balls and tossed them to the kids, being fair to make sure each got one.
So Aaron had two baseballs when the Cubs lucked out in the final of the three-game series against the Pirates. At the end of the game, we hoofed it to a huge line of kids wearing yellow wristbands so he could run the field, after the game.
We waited by the visiting player’s locker room exit in the right field concourse by the bus that drove them back to Pittsburgh. Still depressed about losing, they took the time to sign some baseballs anyway. Aaron got five autographs among the six kids who waited almost an hour after the game ended.
We hightailed it to the Cubs parking lot where valets drove the cars for the Cubs players – Bentleys, Mercedes, BMWs’ sports cars and one cab – begging the Cubs begging for autographs.
I know these baseball players had a hard day. And most of them were with their families as they exited. But not one of them would even bother to acknowledge the half dozen kids who waited patiently by the fence on the West Side of the stadium hoping for at least one autograph.
Most of the time, my son heads to the Baseball Card King in Oak Lawn for autographs, usually White Sox players like Nate Jones who not only autographed baseballs for the fans, but took time to pose with each and every kid.
The game was exciting for me, as an adult, watching all the Cubs fans slobbering their way through 9 innings. But for a kid, it’s even more exciting to meet the players, and get an autograph for their collections.
Aaron knows all the players by name and data. He watches MLB games on Comcast, and monitors the Baseball Card King for autograph sessions at their three stores.
Though the Cubs players were disappointing to the kids, manager Dale Sveum walked over and scribbled some autographs and the kids were excited. The only one.
No one was surprised. Sveum once played for the White Sox.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist. Reach him at www.TheMediaOasis.com or follow him on Twitter at @RayHanania.)
- Cubs Could Do Better Than Being in Chicago (rayhanania.com)
This post has already been read 15 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
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.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. 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