Miracle on Mother’s Day
By Greg Budell
FACT: You have a 1 in 1,500 chance of catching a foul ball at major league baseball game.
O f course, given the popularity of the Marlins, the odds go down to about 1 in 15, but hey, I’m getting off track here.
My Mom was a trooper. Her way of celebrating Mother’s Day was to ask “what can I do to make this a really great day for you, Gregory Benjamin?” Seriously.
So, one year I went to great lengths to let Mom know I had a radio commitment that would prohibit me from traveling to Chicago to see her. I sent an absurd floral arrangement on Friday of that weekend just to prove how guilty I felt about my situation.
I flew in that day, parked my rental car a few doors down and walked up the driveway. The “I’m seeing things” look on her face when she recognized me from the kitchen window was (I hate the word priceless) but, priceless.
So, beyond her initial surprise, how to make this a Mother’s Day she’d never forget? How about a trip to old Comiskey Park to see the Chicago White Sox play? Every Mom’s dream?
I already had my kid sister Kim and her girl friend lined up so it didn’t take much to convince Mom that this was the chance of a lifetime.
“What time do we leave?” she asked that fine spring Saturday night.
“As soon as the limo gets here,” I replied. She thought I was kidding. I wasn’t.
My mother had never ridden in a limo! Once in, I grabbed the handle on the wooden cabinet dividing the seats after we settled in, and up popped a full fledged bar.
Mom liked an occasional vodka gimlet so I made sure the requisite ingredients were on board. She nursed one on the way to the ballpark and thought it was amazing one could safely enjoy cocktails while traveling by car, albeit a rather extended one.
We arrived at Comiskey and Mom started grabbing for the door handle to make her exit.
“Ah ah ah ah ah, Mater,” I chastened. “The driver will open your door. And they won‘t let you bring your gimlet into the park so chug-a-lug!”.
I had the limo for 5 hours so I informed the group we’d have to be ready for departure by 10:30 whether the game with the Baltimore Orioles was over or not. (I may be into surprises, but I wasn’t Rockefeller!)
Once inside the park, we found our way to awesome seats just a few rows behind the dugout on the first base side. It can snow in Chicago in May so we were all pleased with temperatures in the 70s and a wind blowing out at a rather fierce 20 MPH. The ball was flying off the bat. We saw Hall of Famer Eddie Murray hit 2 bombs, one from each side of the plate — and Larry Sheets (who?) hit one onto the right field roof, a rare, prodigious blast. The White Sox, who were sucking their way through a suck season, managed to hit a couple homers too, each accompanied by a celebration of fireworks. Mom didn’t know an intentional walk from a hit and run but even for the casual fan, it was a really good game. Lots of action!