Running the bases at Wrigley Field
This past Sunday, I enjoyed a rare treat: running the bases at Wrigley Field with my son as part of the Cubs Family Sunday program. Its really just supposed to be kids out on the base path after the games, but the ushers werent too rigorous about keeping back the moms and dads who just wanted to make sure their little ones got to home plate safely (although, as my 6-year-old will tell you, he needed no assistance and was kind of annoyed to have parental company). Time Out Chicago Kids happened to be a sponsor of the event, but any kid in the park on Family Sunday can score a free wristband at the fan services desk on the main concourse, and then line up after the game on the right-field side of the concourse for a turn at walking down the right-field line and then trotting around the bases for a cool major-league photo op.
The initiative is new this year, and more than a thousand kids ran around the infield last Sunday, as you can see by the slide show above. The Cubs have also created a pre-game kids corral where early-bird children can go stand in a roped-off area on the first-base side during batting practice. We didnt get down there until right after the Cubs left the field Sunday, but a Pirates coach came over and signed the baseball my son was waving plaintively at anyone passing nearby. Its really a cool opportunity for little guys.
In addition to this seasons final Family Sunday on May 30, here are some other ways for fans to get onto Wrigley Field:
Meet the Team, Have a Ball. On Wednesday May 26, fans can walk across the outfield grass and score autographs from Cubs players and coaches. At $300 per person (plus regular ticket price), its not a cheap option, but it does come with an MLB ball to collect signature, a ball cube, a snack and your name in lights on the centerfield scoreboard. Plus, the cash goes to Chicago Cubs Charities.
Hey Dad, Wanna Have a Catch? On Saturday June 26, families and fans of all ages get 50 minutes to toss the pill in the outfield, trot around the bases and even go into the dugouts. Its $150 to participate, $15 to watch from the stands (the money again goes to Chicago Cubs Charities). Participants get a t-shirt, photo, baseball and lunch.
Wrigley Field Tours. These tours trek through the player clubhouses, the press box and mezzanine suites as well as onto the field, and cost $25 per person. Tour season runs through early October even if the Cubs themselves end up watching the playoffs at home.
Finally, as a diehard NL fan it pains me a bit to admit this, but down at the Cell, the White Sox do a lot to cater to kids as well. I took the little dude to Kids Day there April 11, and was impressed by the player autograph sessions, craft tables and the post-game running of the bases (although the Sox are a bit more strict about keeping parents off the field). Add in the kiddie batting cages and fireworks displays and youve got a pretty nifty day at the ballpark down on the South Side, too. The next Sox Kids Day is May 23 against the Florida Marlins, and childrens tickets are only a buck each with an adult paid admission, and the first 10,000 kids under age 13 get a free jersey to boot. Other Sox Kids Days include July 11 vs. the Kansas City Royals and August 1 against the Oakland As. I still dont like the designated hitter rule, though.Frank Sennett