Rain delay of Cubs costs kids their games at Wrigley

League has its version of World Series every year at ballpark

July 30, 2009

BY RUMMANA HUSSAIN Staff Reporter rhussain@suntimes.com

Every year for more than a decade, they’d gather at Wrigley Field for a special rite of summer.

Amid the ivy and the history, the teenage baseball players would get just a little taste of what it’d be like to be a major leaguer, playing their World Series at the storied North Side ballpark.

But this year, the rain has taken that away from them.

After showers postponed a Cubs vs. Houston game in May, the adults who run the RBI — for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities — league were told the teams would need to make up the missed game today — the same day the RBI League’s championships were scheduled.
Cubs not blamed

So, no RBIs at the Friendly Confines this afternoon.

“That’s kind of bad,” said 15-year-old Manuel Mancilla, whose team, Lou’s Lumber Company, made the playoffs this year. “It’s why I’ve been working so hard.”

League officials don’t fault the Cubs. The team has been very generous, they said. The Cubs are the sole sponsor of the league, run by the Union League Boys & Girls Club. The team has given $1.5 million to the kids program since teaming up with the Union League over a decade ago to serve nearly 400 13-to 18-year-olds from tough neighborhoods. They supply uniforms, equipment and pay for out-of-state trips.

“The Chicago Cubs have been more than gracious to our organization,” said club director Margarita Cepeda-Vargas.
Seeking a solution

And the Cubs are helping secure a suitable field for the teams’ championship, according to Cubs spokesman Mike Lufrano: “We’re trying to accommodate the teams and find the best solution.”

Still, it’s a letdown.

“It’s a dream come true for the kids to play at Wrigley,” Lou’s Lumber coach Eric Acevedo said. “They just haven’t worked as hard since hearing their World Series won’t be played there.”

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