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My Day With The Chicago White Sox

I just got back from an awesome trip to Chicago. I fell in love with the city, and I’m already pondering when I can get back there again. We were only in town Friday night-Tuesday afternoon, so we slammed a lot into a little bit of time. The highlight of the vacation was my day with the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.

This was actually my second trip to the Windy City since April. The first trip was for my grandma’s memorial service in Tinley Park (located about 40 minutes outside of Chicago). She passed away in February, but the service was set up at a time when our entire family could get together (we’re a little scattered all over the country). It was a really quick trip. We flew in on Friday and flew out on Sunday.

Even though she’s gone, my grandma is the whole reason our second trip came about. She was a huge White Sox fan. I have several memories of her watching the Sox on television. She especially loved catchers (namely Carlton Fisk), which is probably a big reason why I became a catcher myself. Plus, most of my favorite big leaguers suited up behind the plate (I was partial to Lance Parrish, Dan Wilson, Terry Steinbach, etc.)…I’m sure that came from her as well.

My grandma was such a big White Sox fan that when she died my dad wrote a letter to the Chicago Sun-Times about her passion for the Pale Hose. A few days after the letter was published, my pops received a call from the newspaper wondering if they could share his contact information with the White Sox. The article became an instant hit with the team, so the vice president of communication Scott Reifert wanted to reach out to my dad. The letter was brought to his attention several times, including a mention by owner Jerry Reinsdorf (pretty cool, eh?). Their conversation turned into an invitation to come to Chicago as a guest of the team. We jumped at the opportunity!

We weren’t really sure what to expect when we showed up at U.S. Cellular Field. It was a small group made up of my dad, my brother, my uncle, my cousin, and me. Right when we walked in the door we were welcomed by a friendly host, Laina Myers. She immediately took us on the field where the White Sox were taking batting practice. Not much later we met Juan Pierre and Omar Vizquel. I didn’t hesitate to get their autographson my old, beat up White Sox hat. A few minutes after our introductions a storm hit and rain started dumping from the sky. That didn’t ruin our visit though.

We quickly moved inside the ballpark…right outside of Chicago’s clubhouse. The players started to file out. First it was Brent Lillibridge, then it was John Danks, Adam Dunn, and Jake Peavy; Chris Sale and Brent Morel were next on the list, with a visit by A.J. Pierzynski to cap it off. I was so caught in the moment I didn’t take any pictures (my brother did, but he hasn’t sent them to me yet…I’ll share once I get them).

NOTE: I’ve met a million athletes in my life. I deal with them everyday. On this trip I allowed myself to be a fan…not a sportscaster…just a fan. I soaked up the moment like I was a seven-year-old kid. I’m sure my jaw even dropped a few times.

We also got to hang out with some retired players as well. Ed Farmer and Darrin Jackson are now radio broadcasters for the White Sox (a view from the broadcast booth). On top of that, we met Moose Skowron. He had a few funny things to say about the current players autographs (let’s just say he doesn’t like that you can’t read them very easily). Harold Baines started to come out of the clubhouse, but he quickly ducked back inside when he saw our group. It sounds like he’s a man of few words.

After meeting the players (all of them were great dudes), we toured around U.S. Cellular Field, and then found our seats for the game against the Detroit Tigers (luckily the storm didn’t last long, so the game was played as scheduled). Miguel Cabrera broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth inning with a two-run blast that landed in the Tigers’ bullpen. The Sox couldn’t battle back in the bottom half, falling 4-2. That was the only negative thing that happened all day.

A day after the game, my cousin posted this to Facebook:

“Was kinda wishing i would wake up and have a groundhog day experience.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself! It was an amazing experience that I wish I could live all over again. I don’t say that because I got to meet the players and get their autographs. I say that because I got to spend quality time with my family in tribute to a very, very, very special person…my grandma.

I want to close with a huge thanks to the folks at the Chicago White Sox (even though they’ll never read this). They didn’t have to invite us to Chicago for a game, but they did. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the Sox, but it grew three sizes that day. They created unforgettable memories for people they’d never met and never had to. THANK YOU! 

As always, I love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below, get in touch with me on Twitter and Facebook, or email me at tim@timlewissports.com. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!

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