It was Star Wars Night on Sept. 1 in Rosemont. A themed parade included costumed attendees walking before the game on Impact Field.
But superheroes were also 23 children impacted by pediatric cancer.
Their families were welcomed as special guests by the Chicago Dogs that Friday night for the Labor Day weekend launch season home closer.
“I think it’s great that they do that for the kids and make them feel normal,” said Kathy Petrosino of Schiller Park, the parent of Cy Petrosino, 10, a fifth-grader, also from Schiller Park.
Cy was diagnosed with cancer in May of 2014. As Cy stood on Impact Field, the field lights suddenly went on for him to briefly shield his eyes.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” Cy said, of being able to be on the field before the game versing the Lincoln Saltdogs.
“He’s got a lot of side effects,” Cy’s mother said of her son’s recovery. “But he’s doing good cancer wise.”
Cy played catch with his assigned Chicago Dogs athlete for the evening, Edwin Arroyo, a Chicago Dogs infielder, who, like all Chicago Dogs management or players assigned a child, wore his child’s name (Petrosino) on a player jersey.
“I just would like to help them (pediatric patients) to have fun,” Arroyo said. “I try to do my best to just be with them.”
The Chicago Dogs partnered with Gold Glove Charities of Kansas City on this special event.
The 23 families were treated to a tailgate picnic on the parking lot deck and early entry to Impact Field where they could play catch with players. A group photo was a must.
“I love that we’re able to do these kinds of things and we’ll be able to put on this kind of platform, so we can give these kids a little bit of a brighter day,” said Trevor Simms, a pitcher. “It’s fun.”
“This is great,” said pitcher Ben Allison from Batavia. “Everything that we can do to give back to these kids is more than great and we’re excited to be out here.”
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and gold is a representative color.
“We love being here,” said Mike Martin, founder/president of Gold Glove Charities. “The guys we work with here are eager to provide for the community, which is what we’re all about, too.”
Chicago Dogs players took the field in gold tinged jerseys.
“It’s unreal, man, these kids, they’re a breath of fresh air,” said pitcher Rich Mascheri from Wauconda. “They’re an inspiration, it’s a really good feeling today.”
“This is awesome,” said outfielder Joe Benson. “A close family friend of mine has a son with type B leukemia and he’s been through a lot of the similar battles as these kids have. It feels good to give back.”
Opening ceremonies included the National Anthem. Players and their assigned child faced the American Flag, which was flown at half-staff.
An announcer said the moment recognized the memory of the late Senator John McCain, a former U.S. Navy pilot.
During the National Anthem, on a flight pattern likely due to pending radar stormy weather, a jumbo jet flew low over Impact Field to land at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
Of the 23 families on the field, three of the children had died and were remembered with photographs and a special jersey, which were all placed in the home team dugout.
On the field, Chicago Dogs Manager Butch Hobson held one of the three photographs of a pediatric patient who died about four months ago, he said.
“It’s pretty touching,” Hobson said, who agreed that baseball can accomplish many things, that this is what it’s all about. “It’s what everything should be about.”
—- Chicago Dogs hold special day for children impacted by pediatric cancer —