Every weekday at 10am, my “second” day begins. Once I’m done herding cats for Lin and Mary on the XRT Morning Show, I help Terri out with the little she needs while prepping the next day’s morning show. Getting to chat with her is a nice treat, but the off-the-air show that happens between Lin, Mary and Terri is gold. SO much knowledge between those three of so much, including music, that I just can’t help but soak it all up like a little sponge.
Monday the 22nd of May presented a new wrinkle to my day, for I’d be accompanying Terri through the VIP entrance at Wrigley Field, joining a few of our XRT colleagues on the field before the game, and then surprising her with the news that she’d be throwing out the first pitch ahead of the ballgame between the Cubs and the San Francisco Giants. WSCR program director and all-around man who knows how to make things happen, Mitch Rosen let me know Friday afternoon that Terri would be doing the honors on Monday and wondered if we should tell her before the weekend. I thought that the surprise on Monday would probably make more of an impact, so we agreed to hold off on telling her the news. Terri, as you probably know, is a Cubs fan of the highest magnitude. So, elevating the excitement of being on the field at Wrigley during Giants batting practice would be hard to top in and of itself. When Mitch finally let her in on the secret we’d been holding for 72 hours, she was in stunned disbelief. Mitch assured her there were no shenanigans, and the reality finally sank in for Terri.
Just before I started shooting the video below, that singular voice of Cubs anthem singer Wayne Messmer drifted into my ear as he greeted Terri. She wheeled around in yet more astonishment at the day’s events. “Terri, how’ve you been? It’s been too long!” exclaimed Messmer. Terri agreed that it had indeed been too long and remarked at how great he sounded. It was like being at a reception on the oldest ballfield in the National League.
Following the euphoria of filming Terri’s big moment, Big Z, former Cub ace Carlos Zambrano trotted out of the Cubs dugout next to us, and without skipping a beat, rifled a pitch into new Cubs pitcher Eddie Butler’s PITCHING mitt. WHAP!!!! I stood about 50 feet away from a screaming cut fastball that had very quickly found its home. And just like that, Zambrano flitted off the mound and back into the dugout from whence he came without nary a photograph taken with the kid pitcher who’s catching hand he’d just pounded as if he were still pitching for a major league contract. A spectator on the field next to us politely asked Butler for a selfie. When Butler obliged, the man asked how his hand felt. “I’m not gonna lie, I felt that one.” He removed his hand from his mitt to reveal a bright red mark as evidence. “Not quite as red as your hair” quipped the man to Eddie Butler.
Later on in the game during a review, my buddy Mark Grote brought Terri’s first pitch up on the ‘SCR Cubs broadcast with Ron Coomer. It was nice to hear so many nice things being said about Terri on her big day, and a testament to how she treats people as well as the affect she has. Getting to spend a big portion of my evening with her, chatting about WXRT and radio history at large, and her ground-breaking place in that history was as much a joy for me as being able to throw out the first pitch at Wrigley was for her. Congratulations, Aunt Terri; after all you’ve been through in the past couple of years, it was so gratifying to bear witness to Monday’s events.