Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ring Day brings memories of other giveaway days

As I write these words, Oldest Son is behind the wheel of his roommate's car, trying to figure out how to navigate around the ubiquitous road construction that cuts Northern Indiana off from Chicago. His object: To arrive at U.S. Cellular Field (ne Comiskey Park) before 11:00 a.m. when the gates open on "Ring Day." Today the first 20,000 patrons admitted to the park will receive diamond-less replicas of the World Series rings. The actual rings will be awarded to the players during a pre-game ceremony.

He found tickets for the game on eBay, which shows some initiative. And he's asked me to go with him today, which is really something special for me.

On the way to work this morning, I couldn't help but think of another giveaway day at the ballpark -- not the Bat Day where Middle Son got his bat and immediately began swinging at about knee or shin-level of the fans crowded around him, although that was a memory, too.

No, I recalled a Card Day, many years ago. Oldest Son learned to write by copying line-ups out of the newspaper. He had memorized rosters at an age when other kids were struggling to spell their own names. And he loved baseball cards.

My memory puts this at the old park, which means before 1991, which means Oldest Son could not have been more than five. We got to the park early that day -- but not early enough. We didn't get any cards.

I don't recall exactly what happened. I just remember the kid's overwhelming disappointment. We may even have gotten cards from someone before the day was out. I know something like that happened a few years later, on a Red Hat day at the new ballpark: Cleveland was in town then, too, and this was in the days when Jacob Field was newly opened and always sold out. So a lot of Cleveland fans came to Chicago -- and a couple of them took pity on my boys and gave them their hats. Which wouldn't have gone over in Cleveland anyway.

Maybe today we will be in time for souvenir rings. I hope so.

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