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The village of Rosemont is a pretty busy place of late, and during the summer months, things are heating up on the west side of I-294. Anchoring the expansion of the entertainment district to the other side of the Tri-State Tollway is Impact Field, which opened in 2018 for the inaugural season of Chicagoland's newest professional baseball team — The Chicago Dogs.
Until recently, we'd only driven by the park — happening to catch the post-game fireworks on a few occasions as we clipped by at a brisk pace. The modern ballpark benefits from its visibility, including the double-sided digital scoreboard that's absolutely unmissable for the millions of drivers who pass by annually.
During a recent media night (which also happened to be superhero night), we finally had a chance to check out everything that this new ball club — part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball — has to offer, and for families, it's a lot. It's not only tremendous fun, but it's affordable, with single game tickets starting at just $9 for bleachers, and topping off at $25 for the Wintrust Home Plate Club.
On a beautiful Friday night, The Chicago Dogs clobbered the Sioux City Explorers 9-2, but the game was just a piece of the overall experience. Fan engagement was high, and the laid-back vibe of the ballpark was evident from the get-go. From the moment you enter the main gates on the park's right field corner, it's apparent that this is a different type of ballpark. It's very open, with a 360-degree concourse that offers a great view that's free of obstructions.
For kids, there's activities in left field — inflatables that include are set up to give little ballplayers a taste of the action with pitching and batting. One of the most popular activities is one that really gets kids moving — a running contest that clocks kids' speed as they run from "third base" to home plate.
Throughout the park, families will find plenty of great food options — and for grownups, there's quite a few fine beverage options as well. Keep an eye out and you'll spot The Dogs' mascot, Squeeze, and his nefarious counterpart, Ketchup. A reminder, especially for those not in Chicago: #NoKetchup. Never, ever put ketchup on a hot dog — NEVER!
On Friday nights, kids run the bases post-game, and there's special events throughout the season, which runs through August. Check out the official site for schedule and tickets!
Bonus: The Chicago Dogs have a great merch store. Now, the merch isn't cheap, but it's completely worth it. We bought The Rock Daughters™ plush versions of Ketchup and Squeeze, while I couldn't resist the New Era fitted Chicago Dogs on-field cap.
Americans have always and will always love sports. Though baseball once reigned supreme and was hailed as America's pastime, football as taken over in recent years. In fact, 37% of U.S. adults say that football is their favorite sport and baseball is at its lowest point ever, with only 9%.
Plenty of off-field drama has hurt the NFL's reputation recently, but baseball, rather than capitalize on the NFL's perils, is no stranger to off-the-field drama, either.
Every year, over 36 million kids around the U.S. play organized sports. Kids love playing soccer, baseball, basketball; even swimming is the fourth most popular sporting activity in the United States. Despite some recent controversy, one sport remains at the top of millions of Americans' list: football.
Last year alone, the number of people ages six and above who participated in tackle football amounted to roughly 5.22 million. Whether it's a little kid running around aimlessly on the field or a professional in his 10th season, at some point, every player's goal is to make the NFL Pro Bowl. People love watching their favorite NFL players compete against their other favorite players every year.
I do enjoy when WWE Superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin does his "Miz TV" shtick in the ring, and it's always been kind of a nice throwback to his days on MTV. Having been a cast member and competitor in numerous Challenges over the years, The Miz returned to MTV's The Challenge as host last fall and will once again be leading the charge this spring during an epic ten-week special event The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars. This new season will feature ten celebrities and all-star athletes along with ten highly skilled, fan-favorite champions from past Challenge seasons. For the first time ever, teams will be mixed with both celebrities and Champs where they will face off in weekly eliminations, until one team will prove they are the ultimate “Challenge MVP.” Winners will compete for a chance to take a share of the $150,000 cash prize to donate to their beloved charities. The Challenge: Champs vs. Stars premieres April 17, 2018 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on MTV. Check out the trailer below...
Around these parts, I'm known for being "anti-football." I don't like the game, I despise the NFL, and I find much of the culture around the sport to be unsavory. But there was a time when I did like football, and it was when i was a child. I like to think that I just didn't know any better at the time, but living in Illinois, the '85 Chicago Bears were a big deal. I still have my 7" vinyl 45rpm copy of "The Superbowl Shuffle." I had the G.I. Joe figure of William "The Fridge" Perry that Hasbro put out. And funny enough, my first "acting" role was as "Little Jimmy" McMahon in a cable access spoof of "The Superbowl Shuffle" that aired in Park Forest, Illinois ahead of Super Bowl XX in 1986. Now, as we approach Super Bowl LII (which I have no plan on watching aside from the commercials and the halftime show), a new documentary is coming to theaters that spins it back to a time when I did like football. Check out the trailer for '85: The Greatest Team in Football History... brought to you by Fathom Events, in select theaters on January 29, 2018...
It's generally no secret around these parts that I'm not a football fan, but I am a Hank Jr. fan. That said, even though the event wasn't my bag, I was bummed to hear that his iconic theme song was nixed from Monday Night Football some years back. Now, confirming some rumors that were swirling, news just hit Rock Father HQ that ESPN’s Monday Night Football will feature the return of its iconic anthem this fall when Hank Williams Jr. kicks off the weekly Monday primetime game by asking NFL fans: “Are You Ready for Some Football?” Every Monday night during the 2017 NFL season, Williams will perform his hit song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Monday Night” with Florida Georgia Line and Jason Derulo.
With Summer "officially" here in just a few weeks, The Park at Wrigley – Wrigleyville’s new town square and year-round gathering place for neighbors, families, fans and visitors – has revealed their full schedule of free summer programs that will begin on June 12. Their Summer Signature Programs are now complemented by a Summer Fitness Series, offering a rotating running club, interval training, yoga and Pilates sessions helping neighbors stay fit and active. Check out all the details below, including the Music Box Theatre’s Movies at the Park, and live chef demonstrations at Green City Market at the Park, presented by Crate and Barrel. Old Town School of Folk Music will also be presenting a family music concert series...
Baseball season is in full-effect, and here in the Chicago area, there's some rumbling coming out of the South Side. Guaranteed Rate, the eighth largest retail mortgage lender in the nation, and the Chicago White Sox recently announced the Guaranteed Impact contest, which will honor kids and teens who are making a positive difference in their communities or schools. The Guaranteed Impact winners will be recognized at a home White Sox game with a shout-out from announcers with their photo on the videoboard and provided a suite including food and beverages to enjoy the game at Guaranteed Rate Field with up to 15 friends and family members. There will be 10 winners throughout the 2017 season, all celebrated at different home games.
At the start of tonight's Monday Night RAW, WWE paid tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a two-minute video in celebration of MLK Day 2017. If you missed it, or would just like to see it again, check out the video below, right here on The Rock Father™ Magazine...
Get ready to rock, Chicago...
This Saturday, Guaranteed Rate, the 8th-largest retail mortgage lender in the nation, and the Chicago White Sox are hosting a Rock 'N Roll night - a special event that will treat fans to an amazing evening of rock music, White Sox baseball and a post-game fireworks show. Rock 'N Roll Night kicks off a long-term partnership between Guaranteed Rate and the White Sox per the recently announced agreement to rename the White Sox stadium to Guaranteed Rate Field beginning November 1st.
In a not-so-distant land called Schaumburg, nestled just minutes west of Chicago proper, there lies a grand castle - an 11th century relic that actually first appeared one foggy night in 1991. For nearly a quarter-century, visitors to this legendary kingdom have taken delight in a spectacle of sportsmanship that until this month, our family had not yet experienced - despite passing beneath the shadow of the castle tower on more than a few occasions. Last week, we answered the invitation of the King himself (or marketers working on his behalf) to attend Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament to witness the action first-hand, and for I to bring forth a tale of our family's experience in the realm of "steel and steed."
Ed. Note: As the famed Balmoral Park in Crete, Illinois prepares to host its final scheduled harness races tonight, I'm turning things over to the person who introduced me to "the track" - my Dad... just as his Father did before him. -- JZ
As a baby boomer in the 50’s dear old dad would wake me up in the wee hours of the morning to go fishing on the Kankakee River and we’d travel Dixie Highway, Route 1 in Crete, Illinois in route to our favorite spots….I always was intrigued by a big brick building we’d pass surrounded by overgrown weeds, and a look of neglect. I was told it was a racetrack once, known as Lincoln Fields and that famous horses raced there. Years later, in the late 1960’s, the place would be reborn under the ownership of William S. Miller, a millionaire breeder and former chairman of the Illinois Racing Board. The lights went on at the new Balmoral in the late 60’s and my father, Harold, and I were there to welcome it back to life! The scene was repeated countless times in the years to follow….we’d feel the excitement build as we could see the lights from quite a distance illuminating the nighttime sky from its rural Crete location. As a broadcaster in the 70’s, Balmoral was a sponsor of one of harness racing’s first regularly scheduled radio programs, Harness Happenings, that I hosted. During that time I met and interviewed many people in the industry, from horsemen to the driver of the starting gate to the manager of the finance department! Also had the privilege of knowing one of racing’s greatest race announcers, the legendary Phil Georgeff who would on occasion permit me to announce some races ‘live’ at the track. Little did I know or even ponder the thought that 30 years later I’d be a late bloomer in the colorful sport of harness racing and actually own and drive in races on a limited basis and yes, suiting up at Balmoral was part of the package and racing there was indeed a thrill that few will ever understand let alone experience firsthand.