By RAY HANANIA • Friday, August 31, 2012
My son Aaron is a typical kid. He spends much time in one place playing Xbox and Wii, or gaming and researching on his computer or his iPad. That’s why I love that he’s active in sports, something I was never active in. When I was a kid in the 1950s, sports was expensive. It was expensive to go to the games, to buy the baseball cards, and really expensive to collect autographs. My dad didn’t have a lot of money but I did go to a White Sox game once in the 1950s. I enjoyed the hot dogs but didn’t pay much attention to the game.
I couldn’t afford to collect the baseball cards. When I could squirrel away a Roosevelt Dime, I’d buy a pack of “Mars Attacks” cards. It wasn’t often. (Back then Mercury Dimes were in circulation and I collected them.) My son plays baseball. When I look past the politics of the OYA and other Southwest suburban baseball leagues that seem to circumvent rules to clout kids onto the best teams, you can still enjoy Little League sports. The best thing I can do for him is to feed that love of sports, and get him out of the house and away from computers.
On Saturday, I took Aaron to the Baseball Card King shop in Oak Lawn at 5205 W. 95th St. White Sox rookie pitcher Nate Jones, who pitched twice this weekend, was there signing autographs. The Baseball Card King has a great staff. Jason and RJ are just two of the clerks at the store who are great sports memorabilia historians. They love kids and, like the best athletes, take the time to talk to today’s kids. Jones and the store staff were very generous to the kids who lined up with their fathers to get his autograph. Jones chatted with the kids, posed for pictures with them, and made them feel like they were important. The kids in the line were all excited.
Jones is the future of baseball, a tall kid from Kentucky who made the big time. It’s his first year. Who knows how far he will go with his career. But with his bright attitude, I hope he goes far. You could see it on his face. Broad smile. Shaking hands. Always focused on the fans.
I’ve been to autograph sessions in which the athletes spend most of their time autographing memorabilia for insiders, while the fans have to over-wait in long, uncomfortable lines. Sadly, politics infects everything. I know. I’ve covered politics for 36 years. But Jones and the Baseball Card King were all about the fans.
If you get a chance, check out the Baseball Card King. My son could spend hours there checking out all the autographed baseball cards, baseballs, magazines, helmets and bats. Say hi to Jason and RJ. They’re great guys and they love to help the kids. In fact, parents need to spend more time with their kids. The Baseball Card King is a great place to do it at. Take your sons or daughters. Girls love sports, too. They were in line getting autographs, too.
It’s a different world today from when I was a kid back in the 1950s and 1960s. Baseball, good sportsmanship and having a smile that can’t be erased help make it a better world.
(Listen to Ray Hanania every Sunday on Radio at 1240 AM WSBC and 1470 AM WCFJ.