MESA, Arizona — Before every game at Sloan Park, I go and hang with the folks at the “Steve’s Dream” tailgate.
“Steve’s Dream” was initiated by Mike Berry, Steve’s dad, after Steve passed away far too young in 2002 from pericarditis, aged just 24. Steve loved baseball and especially Spring Training and Steve’s Dream raises funds to help send families to spring-training games who otherwise might not be able to afford to go. From their brochure:
It’s the hope that after sharing Steve’s story with a father, mother, son or daughter they will understand how precious the love is between a parent and child. If we have been able to help strengthen that for just one family or one person, then Steve’s Dream is successful.
When Thursday’s game was called off an hour before the gates opened at Sloan Park, several of the folks there thought one more tailgate would be a good thing, just to say farewell for this spring season, since we really didn’t get a chance to do so on Thursday. Thus on Saturday at 11 a.m. about 20 of us gathered outside Sloan Park for a “last tailgate.” BCB member puckov, who has been one of the tailgaters for years, brought a TV and we all watched Game 7 of the 2016 World Series together (spoiler alert: The Cubs won). Turned out to be a beautiful, sunny afternoon, perfect for a ballgame. Sadly, there wasn’t one to attend, but it was still nice to be outdoors, especially after the last four days were filled with so much rain.
It’s memories like these surrounding baseball that are important to me and many others. Of course we love the game, its history, and want the Cubs to win. But more important are the lifetime friendships I’ve made both at Wrigley Field and in Mesa, both at Hohokam Park and Sloan Park.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Steve’s Dream, here’s their website. 100 percent of donations go toward buying tickets, and through the end of the 2019 spring season they had helped over 2,000 people make happy memories at Sloan Park.
I enjoyed seeing friends one final time in spring 2020. Hopefully, baseball and other parts of society can get back to normal soon and life, and the game, can continue.