|A pterodactyl delivers the good news Wednesday night at the Field Museum .|
It starts with a ball. Foam or rubber or one of those hollow blue plastic spheres that comes in a set with a fat red bat and a brown toy mitt.
But a parent, a mom or a dad, tosses that ball to a toddler. And the baby, joyful, grabs the ball in a fat fist and flings it back in the general direction of the delighted dad or mirthful mom.
So it begins. Working toward a real hardball and more complicated games: catch in the yard; base runner; pick-up with the kids on the block. Enter professional ball, watched on television, tucked safely under dad's arm, cheering when he cheers.
The dream builds slowly. Those backyard players troop off to Little League, to park district squads. Parents watch instead of playing, mom drives from game to game, dad camps out in the stands.
Others may not play, but channel their passions in baseball cards, into fandom, memorizing stats and records, half hobby, half religion.
By then they've divided their loyalties, North and South. Few root for a distant team; you grow where you're planted. South Siders cleave to the White Sox, who lived their dream not long ago. Don't anybody forget. Chicago won the World Series in 2005.
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|Even Sue the T-Rex couldn't help but smile.|