Posted by: anniewilson | July 13, 2008

Little Dommy DiAngi

My father began taking me to baseball games when I was so young that some of my earliest memories are of sitting behind third base watching the likes of Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Bill Madlock. I could name 5 ways for a batter to get to first base when I was 6. I remember running home from school so that I could catch the end of the ballgame. None of my girlfriends shared my passion for baseball until we got to the age where those guys started looking hot. I, myself, developed a dreadful crush on Pete LaCock, a terrible first baseman who I watched make 2 errors on one play. He couldn’t catch, he couldn’t throw and he couldn’t hit…but damn he was pretty.

When I was about 10 years old, I figured out how to get to Wrigley Field using public transportation. Back then kids could leave the house to play and didn’t have to be back until dinnertime. Since the Cubs never played night games back then, I could almost always get there to watch the game as long as I had a pocket full of change. My parents never knew that I had wandered into the city on my own until I was too big to spank. I think I was in my 30’s when I finally mentioned it to them.

When I did go to the games all by myself, my biggest fear wasn’t that I would get lost. I wasn’t afraid of boogey men. I wasn’t worried that I would miss a bus or get caught on TV, sitting in the bleachers with the rest of the Bleacher Bums. The one and only fear that I ever had was that a ball would hit me in the head. That never happened but this morning I read this story on FoxNews.com:

CHICAGO — Doctors and family members say a 7-year-old boy who fractured his skull when he was struck by a foul ball at Wrigley Field was recovering and expected to live. Dominic DiAngi…was sitting behind the Cubs dugout Thursday…when a foul ball off the bat of Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly struck him in the head…The game was the first major league game the boy had ever attended.

It’ll probably be a long, long time before little Dominic will ever go to a game without a helmet. My fear was based on nothing much…I was just a girl and we almost always worry that we’ll get hit by a ball. That’s what makes me a bad outfielder. I have to cover myself up until the ball drops. Then I can run, pick that sucker up and throw it, usually to 3rd base by then.

I was hit in the head with a soft ball thrown by a fellow third grader, but I never did get hit by a ball at a major league game. As a kid I was lucky and as an adult I’m aware of where the ball is at any given moment. Of course, who knows if I would even have a chance to duck if I saw a foul ball coming down the line…but knock on wood, I haven’t gotten hit yet. If I did, I would still love baseball. I would just wear a helmet or sit in the cheap seats that never see foul balls bouncing off them. But how is little Dominic going to come out of this awful incident?

He appears to be getting better everyday but the docs are checking for neurological deficits. So, when you pray tonight, say a little extra prayer for Dominic. And then, if you get a chance, drop a line to him in care of Wrigley Field. This should get the messages to him:

Dominic DiAngi
C/O Wrigley Field
1060 W Addison St # 1
Chicago, IL 60613

Lilly himself has visited the little man which, if it were me, would have made the smack in the head worth it. I’m quite sure that Lilly did the boy a world of good with that visit.

I bet that someone in Chicago would be aware of any funds set up for the child and if they read this, I’d appreciate it if they could send me that link or address. In the meantime, I’m quite sure that Wrigley Field will forward any cards to Dominic so don’t hesitate, just go ahead and send him a nice hello and a big fat GET WELL SOON!

I’ve never met Dommy, and the last time that I went to Chi-town, that kid hadn’t even been born. But, we are fellow Cub fans and we must look out for each other. For my part, I want to say this to Dominic:

Hey kid,

Way to take a foul line drive! What a strong little man you are. I am so very sorry that you got hit in the head with a ball…and I’m sorry that you’re in a hospital with needles and x-rays. I know that isn’t very fun.

But soon you will be out of the hospital and you will be a very famous little boy. And, I’m quite sure that you will still be a Cubs fan…and Cub fans never change teams nor do we ever quit BEING Cubs fans. If you’re at least 5 years old and you live on the Northside, you ARE a Cubs fan and nothing in the world will ever change that.

The 69 Mets didn’t make me stop being a Cubs fan. Neither did the 84 Cubs. Steve Bartman tried to stop me, but that little…ball catcher, won’t dampen my spirits. And why you might ask?

BECAUSE I’M A CUBS FAN!

The Cubs have been wounding me for over 46 years…but so far they haven’t beaned me. If they do, I’ll take the hit because a REAL LIVE CHICAGO CUB will come into my hospital room!

And of course I’ll still love those Cubbies. When I was a kid I used to sneak into Wrigley Field on the off days and watch them practice. I would wait for a truck to come in through the service entrance and run into the friendly confines along the side of the truck that was entering. The side away from the guard, of course. I never once got caught. I ran straight into the stands and sat on the first base dug out.

The Cubbies thought I was the janitor’s kid and the field crew thought that I was with one of the players. No one ever would have thought that a little girl would be sitting inside Wrigley Field all be herself. I met some of the real greats doing that. From Poppo to Pappy to Peppy, I’ve met them all.

But of all the stories I have to tell about meeting Mr. Cub, laughing at the gaffes of Jack Brickhouse and going to parties with people who lived across the street from Wrigley after the games…not one will be as cool as the story that you will be telling for the next 70 or 80 years.

You know what Dommy? I believe that you have undone the curse. The curse gods must surely see your smack on the noggin as a sign. It’s a sign that we have suffered long enough. Our 7 year old fans are the most valuable of ALL Cubs fans. You guys ensure that there will long be children who will grow up to fill the stands at Wrigley with the hope that all Cubs fans share…the hope that WE WILL GET THEM NEXT YEAR! And if the curse gods have a heart at all, then surely they will see you and your poor little head as a sign that the Cubs have been cursed long enough.

That ball could have hit anyone. It could have hit some drunk guy in the next row. It could have hit some teenaged girl who was talking on her cell phone. It could have bounced off of a seat. But it didn’t, Dommy. It hit YOU. And when it did, it ensured that you will long be remembered by Cubs fans everywhere. Even the Cubs themselves will talk about you in the locker room and remember that “great little man who took a line drive smack in the head”. You have garnered a spot in Cubs history, young man. And if the curse gods should do the right thing, we will be talking about pre-Dommy and post-Dommy Cubs for decades to come.

We Cubs fans have been spitting in the face of the curse gods for a long, long time now. But I think you finally hit the nail on the proverbial head…you have suffered enough for us all. You, Dommy, have taken away any self pity that all other Cubs fans might want to feel. You’ve paid the price for us all and I can’t wait to see you back at the park, next to your father, where all little Cubs fans belong.

And to the curse gods I say this:

Let my people go…straight to the World Series. I dare you…no, I DOUBLE dare you. Be a decent curse god and don’t make little Dommy pay anymore for a chance to see his beloved Cubs win the whole enchilada. He shouldn’t have to do what I’ve done…cheer for over 45 years for a team that hasn’t got a chance because of you and your stupid curse. That dumb goat really didn’t belong in the park in the first place. You do realize that, don’t you? So, this has been a bogus curse from the beginning. I won’t complain about that anymore if you just do the right thing and lift the curse off of the Cubs…if for nothing else, then for Dominic DiAngi. So, in the name of that little boy, I ask you, no I CHALLENGE you…to let the Cubs win or lose on their own.

If you don’t, I think that we can all fairly say that you are the meanest, nastiest, cruelest curse gods that ever existed.

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Responses

  1. good article thank you

  2. Hello there,
    Dominics father here.
    Thank you for the very kind words.
    He is doing well. He is back to school and back to playing ball.
    He still goes to therapy ( speech) and reading comprehension.
    All in all he is prob. 85% himself.
    Were all just glad to have him around period.

    There is a special account that was opened for him at the Marquette Bank in Orland Park, 143oo 82nd av. But as of this date the balance is at 0.

    I guess word never spread. But thats fine. Were just plugging along, knowing its all in gods hands anyway.

    Thanx again.

    Pete and Dominic

  3. Hi!

    How sweet of you to drop me a line! I’m so glad that Dominic is better and I’m sure his improvment will continue.

    This weekend I will mention the account in a post. Hopefully, it’ll do some good.

    🙂


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