The Chicago Dogs hosted “Home Run For Education”, an exhibition game at Impact Field in Rosemont on Tuesday morning, May 9, for Chicago area students who took the field trip to learn more about America’s pastime.
“The priority today is to make learning fun, and introduce some students to baseball,” says Chicago Dogs owner Shawn Hunter. “Every student is given a workbook with math, history, and rules of baseball, making this an educational field trip.” The workbook was designed to be filled out throughout the game, where in between the innings of the video board would engage with students to help them find the answers. The booklet taught fielding positions, senses to look out for while at a ball game, baseball equipment, and even team and league information.
Hunter estimated between 3,500 to 4,000 total students were in attendance. “A lot of these students it is their first baseball game,” he says. “We want to make it a memorable experience for them.”
Students of all grades from kindergarten to high school were in attendance.
The Chicago Dogs played against an independent baseball organization, Black Sox Pro Baseball, an interchangeable team that travels the country to play different professional teams in front of professional scouts, giving players a chance to compete.
This was a special opportunity for the Dogs to reach out to various students from different areas, including a school from Cicero: Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. “I think it’s awesome for the kids to be introduced to baseball like this, especially for the inner city kids,” says physical education teacher Nick Konstanstopoulos.
A lot of local schools were in attendance, such as the Maine Township Transition Program, a separate student development program within Maine East High School in Park Ridge. “It’s nice our students are getting shown something to do in the community with their friends or family,” says teacher Pam Alper. “It also helps them deal with being in a crowd, standing in lines, and talking with people.” With the stadium filled to about half capacity, it was a great opportunity for students to recognize what it can be like at a crowded event.
Amongst the crowd was Rosemont Elementary School. Principal Laurie Kovalcik was very excited for her students. “I’m so glad they did something for the kids, and that we have some sense of normalcy after this pandemic,” she says. “I love the idea of collaborating with them.”
Superintendent of Rosemont Elementary Dist. 78, Kevin Anderson, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. “You couldn’t get this at the professional [MLB] level, ”he says. “I love the educational value, and the Dogs interacting with students here at the game.”
During what was the hottest day of the year, the Dogs held a successful event that served an educational purpose. “Our product isn’t just baseball, our product is fun,” says Hunter.
The students and school staff were treated to a low scoring pitching duel, but most importantly they were treated to knowledge not just about baseball, but life itself.
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