Craig Sager grew up an unabashed Chicago Cubs fan and even skipped high school to attend a game at Wrigley Field. Unlike Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sager was caught by his teachers who were watching the game on WGN-TV after he got hold of a foul ball and held it up for the cameras to see.
Well tonight, Sager will be back at Wrigley, but this time, he’ll be on the field to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch. It’s all part of “Conquer Cancer Day.”
And it’s also to acknowledge Sager’s battle with leukemia which has been ongoing since 2014. While he’s still undergoing treatment, Sager continues to work for TNT having been at the NBA Western Conference Finals. The chance to throw out the first pitch means so much to Sager that he has arranged flights from Oakland to his home in Atlanta where he got a blood transfusion to Chicago so he can take part in tonight’s game:
“I’ve done World Cup soccer, Wimbledon, the Olympics, the NBA, Super Bowls, everything … Kentucky Derbys, Indy 500s,” said Sager, 64, who has worked 34 years at Turner. “There really was nothing I could think of that I hadn’t done. Then I talked to the Cubs about this and said, ‘Oh my God, I hadn’t even thought about that.’ ”
Earlier this year, Sager told HBO’s Real Sports that doctors had given him a prognosis that he had “three to six months” to live, but that has made him more determined to work not just his regular NBA schedule, but also the Rio Olympics where he’ll work the men’s basketball tournament for NBC.
But first things first. Sager will be in Chicago tonight and he’s bought 31 tickets for his friends and family who will be on hand to see him first on the field and later in the booth.
It’s a thrill for Sager who has come full circle from being caught by his teachers skipping to school to now being an honored guest at the ballpark. Tonight’s game is also being aired on ESPN so perhaps the Worldwide Leader will show Sager during its telecast.