By: Butch & Sharon Forrester-September 5, 2008
Plans began to be made back in July for a unique trip to Chicago for the Diamond Devils 18U Baseball Team, which had won the Perfect Game 17U World Wood Bat World Series in Atlanta and the CABA 18U Wood Bat World Series in Charleston this summer. Coach John Rhodes had received an invitation for the team to play in a tournament in Chicago due to the excellent performance of this team and his program. Through hectic school, baseball, and work schedules, along with hurricane preparations for the coastal families, a sense of anticipation and excitement continued to build for all as the team, our sons, would be playing their first game at Wrigley Field.
The members of this team have worked remarkably hard for years to reach this level of play. The coaches have sacrificed a great deal of time with their families season after season traveling with the teams. The parents have done all they could to provide the best opportunities and experiences possible for their sons since each boy first picked up a bat and glove. Now a dream for all was coming true! They were playing a game on the hallowed grounds of one of the most famous fields of professional baseball.
On the fall morning of September 6th, the Diamond Devils team, coaches, and families arrived at the home of the Cubs. Although the outside of the stadium showed its many decades of existence, the history of all those who have traveled through the great iron gates was quickly felt. The tunnel around the stadium lacked the many booths and activities that the new stadiums offer.
However, once up the stairs and into the bright sunshine, the splendor of the rich, green field and the ivy covered fence was breathtaking for any baseball fan. While sitting in the stands, you could easily remember all of the great ball players, from the past and the present, who have played here. You could easily see various landmarks around the stadium including the great scoreboard and seats on the rooftops lining the outfield. Most importantly, you could easily see what this experience meant to each player, coach, and family member by simply looking at their faces. The thrill and honor of being at this field to play was apparent. Each player, as all fathers and sons in the world of baseball, dream of one day playing at the professional level and at a great field such as Wrigley.
Finally, the time had arrived for the Diamond Devils to take the field. The magic of this moment was felt with a lump in the throat, a chill up the spine, or a tear in the eyes. All of the hard work, dedication and sacrifices became worth it in this special moment. Each player seemed to run a little faster, throw a little harder and give more of himself with each play. The Diamond Devils, our sons, were playing on Wrigley Field. The sense of pride and joy was overwhelming.
The players in this baseball program have had the opportunity of playing on many major college fields around the country, but none can compare to playing on Wrigley Field. The experience of watching our sons playing, and winning, on this field is one all of us will cherish. It is a lifetime memory that each player will be able to share with their children and grandchildren. No matter what happens in each of the player’s future baseball careers, they had the opportunity of playing on one of the most renowned professional fields while still in high school. In the well-known baseball movie Field of Dreams, there is the famous line, "If you build it, they will come." This has been true since 1914 at Wrigley Field, and was true on this memorable day for the Diamond Devils.