Sox help young fan's wish come true
Schaaf family enjoys special visit to U.S. Cellular Field
CHICAGO -- The best part about 14-year-old Morgan Schaaf's trip to U.S. Cellular Field on Monday evening was a no-brainer in her book.
"That I get to meet all the players," she said. "That I'm here. I didn't think it would happen."
Schaaf, who suffers from tracheomalacia -- an abnormal collapse of the tracheal walls that obstructs the air passage -- was a special guest at the ballpark on Chicago's South Side, a day made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Schaaf and her family took in Monday's game between the White Sox and Twins from the fourth row, behind the White Sox on-deck circle.
And that was only part of her memorable experience.
Before the game, she was treated to a fair number of goodies from White Sox rookie Gordon Beckham, who was Morgan's escort for the day.
Beckham chatted with Morgan and her family before and after batting practice, taking photos and autographing his batting practice bat and baseball gloves for her -- which led Morgan to declare Beckham her second-favorite player.
Her escort originally was supposed to be her favorite player, Jim Thome. But Thome was traded to the Dodgers last month. As a result, Beckham filled in on his behalf.
"I'm happy to step in, especially for Jim," Beckham said. "He would do the same for me. It was fun to meet her. I'm No. 2 in her book, but that's OK because I'm behind one of the greatest of all time in her book, and that's great. She's a ball of energy. She's a lot of fun and I'm glad she had fun today."
Morgan also received hugs and high-fives from the likes of Chris Getz, Carlos Quentin, Jermaine Dye and A.J. Pierzysnki.
"Do you dye your hair?" Morgan asked the bleach blond Pierzynski.
"No, it's natural," Pierzynski joked, before letting Morgan touch his hair.
Morgan's dad, Jay, said the family had been big supporters of White Sox baseball for years. And Morgan was no exception.
"She's still learning about baseball," Jay said. "But she watches all the games on TV."
Now, she should have even more reason to root for her heroes on TV, especially Beckham.
"He's kind of cute," she said.
"I said if she was a little older, maybe it would work out," the 23-year-old Beckham joked. "But she's great. She's a lot of fun, and good for her. She's got a great outlook."
Jesse Temple is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.