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Take me out to the ballgame
April 6, 2011 - Ron Deuter
My wife and I took our son to his first Cubs game during a visit to Chicago last weekend. At three-and-a-half years old, Jake doesn’t really understand the game of baseball, but he sure was excited to visit Wrigley Field.
When Jake was born someone got him a little book about Wrigley Field and the Cubs. He grew to love this book, so much so that my mom had to buy a replacement last year as the original was tattered beyond repair. While not so much the case these days, there was a stretch of a good year or more where Jake would want to look through the Cubs book every night. No matter what other book we presented to him at bedtime, he would always say, “Read ballgame book?” He knew it page-by-page by heart. He would take the book everywhere and fall asleep with it at his side.
Along with the pictures of Wrigley’s famous red marquee and the manual scoreboard, Jake’s favorite part of the book was the page with the song “Take me out to the ballgame” printed. Every night we would have to sing the song. As Jake learned to speak, it was the first song he recited word-for-word. Many times he would just start singing it on his own, no matter where we were — in the car, the store, at church. Usually at the top of his lungs too.
Sunday’s Cubs game was no different. While we could tell he was a little overwhelmed when we first arrived and he took in Wrigley, by the second inning Jake was swaying back-and-forth in his seat belting out “Take me out to the ballgame” over and over and over again with a big smile on his face, much to the delight of those seated around us. Jake loved everything about the ballpark. We pointed out all the sights he had only seen in his book. He got a big kick out the vendors walking the aisles. A beer-man walked by and shouted, “Beer here! Beer here!” Jake shouted right back to him, “Beer here!” That drew a good chuckle out of the vendor and everyone seated around us.
When it came time for the whole crowd to sing, during the seventh-inning stretch, Jake developed stage fright. He stood silent as the crowd sang, mostly with a look of awe. Even though we tried to prepare him for the stretch, we could tell he was totally surprised that the whole crowd actually gets up and sings. When it was over, he got upset because he wanted everyone to do it again.
I don’t know if it was the singing, ice cream, hot dog, jumbo pretzel, cracker jack or soda, but Jake sure had a great time at the game. We only left in the eighth inning to get ahead of traffic because we needed to drive back to Iron Mountain that evening. If Jake had his way, we would have stayed till they kicked us out of the park.
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Jake and his mom (yes, a lifelong White Sox fan wearing a Cubs hat) share some ice cream at Wrigley Sunday.