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Wednesday, September 25 2013 13:57

Baseball. My Grandpa. And My First Ballgame with the Girls... #BigLeagueDads in Chicago...

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Back in April, as both the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox got their seasons underway, I blogged about baseball here on The Rock Father. In that entry, I affirmed my allegiance to the South Side ('Sox), while noting that I'd never seen a game on the North (Cubs). I also promised my oldest daughter that we would one day see a game in a place like we saw on tv, and this past Sunday, that promise became a reality. It was a "first" for the entire family... my daughters' first ballgame, and for my wife and I, our first game in Wrigley Field. We'd taken the kids to see the Chicago Cubs.

Addie checks out Wrigley Field for the very first time...

In my column over at Chicago Parent (edit: reposted here as it was seemingly lost over there during a redesign), I spoke a little bit about my baseball background and how I was practically raised to love the Chicago White Sox by design. While I touched on it, what I didn't explain was how exactly I came to appreciate their North Side rivals as well.

Grandpa BuchmeierMy Grandpa Buchmeier.

The Grandpa that I knew was in his 70s, a lifelong farmer that was still working the fields. Turns out, some five decades prior, my Grandpa worked a different kind of field... one with three bases and a home plate. We never spoke much about his younger days, but I knew that he and his brother played together. If I recall, they were a pitcher/catcher combo.

On some of the days when my sister and I would visit my Grandparents' farm in South Suburban University Park (since leveled for a subdivision), I'd sit in the living room - kicked back in my Grandma's recliner while my Grandpa sat to my left in a recliner of his own. We'd generally be watching the Chicago Cubs, who at the time, were broadcast regularly on WGN.

I had just turned 13 a couple of weeks before my Grandpa died in 1989. He was a "Big League Dad" - a Father of 8 (my Mom being the youngest), and while his children and countless grandchildren (and some of their children) all have different memories of him, baseball is a big part of mine. In fact, before my Grandpa was buried, I tucked a Topps Baseball Card of Cubs' outfielder Andre Dawson in his jacket. I also included a little Cubs helmet. A Cubs helmet just like this one...

Plastic Chicago Cubs Ice Cream Bowl Hat

That "helmet" is an ice cream bowl - specifically, the bowl that we received this past weekend with my oldest daughters' chocolate ice cream at Wrigley Field. Something physical, that can incite an emotional reaction connected to the past. A real moment.

chiparent collage

It was the folks at MLB and Dove Men+Care that brought us to the ballgame this past Sunday, guests as part of their season-ending "Big League Dads" promotion in which they celebrate Fatherhood with weekly videos featuring professional baseball players discussing their most important off-field position: Being a Dad. 

And speaking of videos, I made one, too! It's my family running the bases at Wrigley Field... complete with Addie's first attempt at a slide into home plate:

Check out the #BigLeagueDads Instagram Contest for your chance to win a family trip to opening day, 2014. 

chiparent familyphoto

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James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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