Shanoff's WUC: Taking a Wrigley Field Trip

Today's Calls: Wrigley Field vs. the Phillies, Stephen Strasburg vs. the Marlins, John Wall vs. Penny Hardaway, UNC vs. the NCAA, the Big Ten vs. Lambeau Field, Michigan State vs. Michigan, Golden State Warriors fans vs. Hope, Landon Donovan vs. MLS, Dwyane Wade vs. Dan Gilbert and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: My favorite sports moment from 2009 was the one where longtime Phillies season-ticket holder Steve Monforto was at a game, caught a foul ball for the first time in his life and handed it to his 3-year-old daughter. ↵

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↵She promptly threw the ball back. ↵

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↵Instead of yelling -- or even grimacing -- he smiled and hugged her. What an amazing lesson. ↵

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↵This afternoon, I will be taking my 4-year-old kid to his first-ever Major League Baseball game, and I'm not sure there is a more perfect setting: The classic Friday afternoon game at Wrigley Field. ↵

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↵Even living on the East Coast, I grew up a huge Cubs fan. My father is a Cubs fan. (He will be at the game with us.) His father was a Cubs fan. In fact, we are all meeting in town to celebrate what would have been my late grandfather's 100th birthday. ↵

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↵Parents to children: That's how so many of us find our sports allegiances. Sometimes it has to do with geography (where you grew up) and sometimes with serendipity (where you got accepted to college). But if your parent is a fan of a certain team and exposes you to that team, there is a pretty good chance you will become a fan of that team, too. ↵

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↵Teams should pay a lot closer attention to this, particularly among displaced fans. ↵

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↵I'm not set on my kid becoming a Cubs fan. What I really hope is that when exposed to the very ideal of attending a baseball game -- the day game at Wrigley -- that he has his first glimmer that going to sports events is as much fun (in its own way, maybe even more) than rooting for a team itself. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵• Lincecum on point: CG 6-hit SO. ↵

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↵• 2nd half surge? Slow start for Sox. ↵

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↵• Injury Watch: J-Hey is back! (Morneau to DL) ↵

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↵• Strasburg Mania: Tonight at Florida. ↵

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↵• Ichiro bumming: Gotta feel for him. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Among the many really good reasons that drafting Sam Bradford was, at best, a huge risk and, at worst, a huge mistake is this ludicrous idea of paying him $50 million guaranteed. For what, exactly? ↵

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↵British Open: Wouldn't Rory McIlroy and John Daly make a hilarious sit-com reality-show couple? Daly out-shooting Tiger in the 1st round has to be one of the best golf results of the year. ↵

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↵NBA Summer League: Wall Watch. 21 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and -- most important -- only 3 turnovers in yet another win for the unstoppable Wall-zards. ("Wall-zards?" I already regret trying that out.) ↵

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↵More: Freeman praises the Boogie Cousins revelation. ↵

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↵NBA Free Agency: Penny wants a comeback? Well, there's gotta be room for him on the Heat, right? ↵In slightly less ludicrous news, the Magic are reportedly going to match JJ Redick's offer from the Bulls. (By the way, don't sleep on the Rockets re-signing Luis Scola, an underrated big who gives them mandatory depth behind/next to Yao.) ↵

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↵NFL Camp Countdown: Pete Carroll deserves all the mediocrity he's going to create in Seattle. ↵

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↵NFL "Draft": So how'd that Supplemental Draft work out for ya? ↵

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↵CFB Offseason: I'm all for a Big Ten title game at Lambeau, but I'd like to see it rotate between there, Ford Field, Soldier Field and Lucas Oil Stadium. ↵

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↵Countdown: No. 50 Michigan State. I don't know what would make Sparty's fans happier -- being in the Top 50 (many see them as a sleeper in the Big Ten) or being so far ahead of woeful Michigan. ↵

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↵Scandal Watch: UNC, the former football doormat, has been way too good lately to avoid a little suspicion. ↵

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↵Soccer: It is probably in Landon Donovan's best interests to play in Europe, as he so successfully did for Everton last season. But it is not in MLS' interest to lose their biggest draw with a full-season transfer. In this battle, MLS wins. ↵

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↵Business: In rare good news for Warriors fans right up there with the 8-over-1 playoff series win over the Mavs, the heyday of Run-TMC and the draft night they traded for Chris Webber: The new owners, who have a commitment to spending and winning. It's going to take a little while to undo the past few years, but having Stephen Curry is a start. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "He didn't quit." -- Dwyane Wade, on LeBron James' performance at the end of his 2010 Playoffs run. Um, beg to differ. ... ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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