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Sweet Suite: A Chicago toddler watches her first Sox game in style

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster ( his “Brown Mom” wife), and their 3-year-old daughter Viva, who is disappointed in this year’s spotty pitching.

Lest you think last weekend’s birthday extravaganza for my 2 (now 3) year old daughter was merely a “Frozen” themed explosion of little-girl stereotypes, I thought I’d let you know that she also got to see her first Chicago White Sox Game, and, like everything our little Viva la Diva does.. she did it like a boss.

The leaves are turning, the regular season is almost done, the Sox aren’t going anyplace, (and, were there a more merciful God, the Cubs franchise would just be retracted from MLB). But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a joy to see a baseball game in person – one of my particular favorite joys, and one my daughter hasn’t yet experienced. I hadn’t intended to bring her to a game yet, as I can’t imagine trying to wrangle her for the average White Sox game running time of approximately 14 hours, nor did I think I could explain to her the glory of the Designated Hitter role in the American League (I can barely explain it to my NL fan friends.)

Fate stepped in though, in the form of Viva’s favorite Chicago media star, AM670 the Score and 120 Sports.com’s Laurence Holmes. This summer, Mister Holmes won the White Sox Broadcast Bullpen Challenge, in which 8 Chicago media figures threw out the first pitch at a Sox game and then fans voted on who threw it best. (My parents attended Laurence’s game and said his form was sublime, the Platonic Ideal of a pitch.) Laurence invited us to attend the game, where he received a trophy from the Sox organization on the field (he hadn’t told us that was going to happen, actually, humble media superstar that he is), and we watched the game from a Diamond Suite!

If you’ve never watched a ball game from a Diamond Suite, and I have not, it’s like being in a TV screen filled hotel room with a kitchenette in which one wall opens onto live baseball. Oh, and in this case there was unlimited hot dogs and chicken wings and caprese sandwiches, bottle service, and a dessert cart. You know, no big deal.

Viva and Professor Foster and I all put on our White Sox gear to leave the house, and the dialogue went like this:

VIVA: Daddy, are we going baseballing?

ME: Ummm… yes.

VIVA: I am going to baseball so well!

ME: Good sweetie. “Baseballing” is fun.

VIVA: Daddy, who is going to win: you or me?

ME: Hopefully the White Sox.

VIVA: Not you?

ME: When you go baseballing, sweetie, everybody wins.

VIVA: I like baseballing.

And everybody did win. (Including the White Sox.) Viva especially won when Sox employed Oompa-Loompas brought by the largest dessert wagon I’ve ever seen, covered in multi-layer cakes, mousses, pies, candy apples, candies, brownies, andcookies. Ask her today what baseballing is about, and she’ll probably say, “Cake.”

Despite the awesomeness of the suite, it was hard to wrangle Viva for the whole game. She loved SouthPaw, and the Loveabulls, who performed as part of “Bulls Night.” She loved the fireworks. Sadly, there was no sausage race, as the day had been a double header and the sausages must have gone home to cool their sausagey heels.

I took her around the park, where she especially enjoyed the statuary garden, and was delighted to know there was once a player named “Pudge”, and that she could chant “Ha-rold, Ha-rold” at the statue of former slugger (now coach) Harold Baines. I was a little nervous to bring her around a crowded ballpark for fear of losing her… luckily no one goes to White Sox games, so you could always find her. Nana and Grampy Foster were in attendance, so they took some turns entertaining her when all of this wasn’t entertaining enough, so Daddy could watch some partial innings and eat more wings.

Much to my chagrin, her favorite part of the experience was jumping off a coffee table in the entrance to the suite and landing in my arms, roughly 1 million times. It really cut into my wing eating time, although it did help me work some of the wings off.

The hard part now will be bringing her to her NEXT baseball game, which will likely be slightly less luxe. There are many difficult things a parent must explain to their child: loss, pain, injustice… and now I have to explain to her sometimes you have to sit on wooden chairs instead of leather couches, and that wings aren’t always endless.

Thanks, Laurence. Go Sox.

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