Keep up the good work on your blog ‘Prose and Ivy’ – I like that a lot.
– Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer RYNE SANDBERG (Video included down below)
Think of your days playing pickup baseball in the sandlot. You meet your friends at the local field, pick teams and take your place on the field. Which position do you run to and who are you emulating as you pound your fist into your glove ready to get the first out?
For me, once teams were settled and the home team decided, before we took the field I was sure to yell at the top of my lungs ‘SECOND BASE!’ as I sprinted to the middle infield spot of my choosing before anyone else could get there. I kicked the dirt around, watched the rest of my team take their places and then fielded practice grounders as the first baseman threw them to the rest of the infield to get ready for the first batter. I was amped. I was ready. You weren’t getting anything by me because in my mind I was…RYNE SANDBERG.
Everyone had their favorite and Sandberg was mine. I’m sure it had something to do with his name and my name being so close to the same (Ryan/Ryne) but also because at that time, Ryne was the man on the Cubs and the middle of the infield was the place to be. You had to make sure the first baseman could catch. You had to have quality at the hot corner to stop those quick line drives that the nearly 90% right-handed hitting kids would ultimately be ripping all game long – but you also better have some quality up the middle considering only so many shots were making it to the outfield and every game counted like it was Game 7 of the World Series. No joking around out there. We wanted to win.
Who better to put your mind in the right place to dominate than RYNE SANDBERG? Agreed.
When I went to the Cubs Convention in 2017, I had an opportunity to meet RYNE SANDBERG. It was during a 1984 Reunion Panel and I arrived a couple minutes late. All the good seats were taken and I didn’t want to hang in the back, barely able to hear. I noticed there were two microphones towards the front of the room with only about 10 people in line waiting to ask the players a question. Star struck upon seeing RYNE SANDBERG in person, I didn’t have a question right of the bat, I knew I could come up with something if I just got in line. Plus, if I got in line I would be towards the front of the room with an awesome view of my favorite Cub of all-time, RYNE SANDBERG.
I listened as I waited in line and kept thinking how cool it was that I was about to talk to RYNE SANDBERG. When it was my turn I said hello and mentioned how when kids play ball, everyone has their favorite player in mind as they patrol their spot in the field. I then went on to tell RYNE SANDBERG that for me, that player was him. He seemed genuinely appreciative and it was so cool to interact with him. I asked the panel who their favorite players were when they were kids and I believe Ryne said Johnny Bench. To have that moment in person with my favorite Cub of all-time was worth the trip in and of itself and something I’ll treasure being able to play over and over in my mind.
This morning, for Father’s Day, my family gave me another great moment with Sandberg that I will literally be able to play over and over again. Among other signs of appreciation and really sweet, thoughtful items they thought I’d love – they topped things off with a Cameo from the one and only – RYNE SANDBERG.
(He even mentions this site and digs the name Prose and Ivy! What?!) #1 in your hearts and #23 in your program – ladies and gentlemen on this 2020 Father’s Day, I present to you, my sandlot hero – the man, the legendary…RYNE…SANDBERG.
And just because I can NOT leave out this detail – check out the old-school Chicago Cubs helmet phone my family had for me to accompany the Cameo gift! I mean – what?!
Happy Father’s Day, fellow Cubs Dads! Have a great, great day. And MLB, get that deal done – as many games as you can and keep our Chicago Cubs safe!