CHICAGO -- Chris Sale took the mound one day earlier than expected, only Tuesday afternoon's effort happened about a 15-minute drive away from his usual working venue of U.S. Cellular Field and was for a profoundly meaningful cause.
The White Sox left-hander joined teammates Gavin Floyd and Jesse Crain, along with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and senior executive vice president Howard Pizer, at the Ronald McDonald House in the Streeterville area of downtown Chicago. The group was there for the dedication ceremony of the White Sox Family Field rooftop, which is a small-scale replica of the White Sox home ballpark, where kids can relax and have a little fun through baseball.
Sale's job was to throw out the first pitch to former Ronald McDonald House family guest Augie Matthies.
"I've never wanted to give up a hit so badly in my life," said a smiling Sale as he prepared to toss one in underhanded to the important young hitter wearing a White Sox jersey and batting helmet.
This dedication recognized the new partnership forged between the White Sox and the Ronald McDonald House, in addition to the significant contribution made by White Sox Charities to Ronald McDonald House in support of pediatric oncology research and families impacted by cancer. The Chicago-based Ronald McDonald House supports the needs of families whose children are receiving treatment at the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, according to its website.
It is currently the largest Ronald McDonald House in the nation, with 15 stories and 86 guest rooms for families of hospitalized children. Reinsdorf and his charges were happy to do what they could to improve the quality of life for these children and their families.
"It's nice but it's sad. It just gets me every time I go to the children's hospital or something like this," Reinsdorf said. "I have kids, I have grandchildren. We worry about winning and losing ballgames, but life has to go on. We have to do it. I don't think we can imagine what these people go through. It's great that McDonald's started the Ronald McDonald House. What we do is a pittance compared to what needs to be done."
"Definitely makes you be thankful for what you have," Sale said. "It's kind of how I live my life and even playing baseball. Don't get upset about what you don't have or what you could have. But appreciate the days you do have and the fun times you are having. Not everyone gets to live their life that way."
Reinsdorf has been honored numerous times for his charitable acts and contributions, as well as the exemplary charitable work turned in by his organization. But Reinsdorf pointed out again on Tuesday how he simply stands as the front man for a great group of dedicated people who make up the White Sox.
"I always feel uncomfortable getting the awards, first of all for doing the right thing, but also because I'm just the front guy," Reinsdorf said. "It's an obligation, it's a responsibility, but it's a pleasure to try to make the world a little better. That's all it is, a little better. You can't do enough."
"We want to be here. This is fun for us, too. This isn't them making us do this," said Sale, the married father of a 3-year-old son, who added that Floyd found out about the event Monday night and asked if he could attend. "It's not a burden in our day to have to come do this. It's something that's special for them, but it's special for us, too."