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Rick Stromski to throw first pitch at Cubs game during NCS convention weekend

NCS President and Soup to Nutz creator, Rick Stromoski will be throwing the first pitch at a Cubs game during the weekend of the NCS yearly gathering in Chicago. According to Rick – he and Pat Byrnes (Chicago NCS chapter chairman) contacted the Cubs to findout if there were any games that weekend of the convention for NCS members to attend. The Cubs said they’d love it if the NCS president or other cartoonst could throw the first pitch. Rick first gave the option to Bill Hinds (Tank Macnamara) – who suggested that Rick take the honor.

And so he will.

“I figured this was a once in a lifetime opportunity so I didn’t hesitate to accept it.”

I’m still tracking down details to which game, what time and who the Cubs are playing that day/night.

Thanks, Rick, for the details and hope you do better than Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound.

UPDATE I emailed Pat to get details on the game and he responded with a great insider on how this all played out behind the scenes. I’ll let him tell the story.

Getting tickets was easy; just call the group sales agent. Getting a shot at the first pitch was a total fluke. We’re a small-ish group, not corporate sponsors, not lifelong season ticket-holders, not even B-list celebrities (well, maybe B-minus). So how did it happen? It so happens that a childhood friend of my wife is in the front office at the Cubs. A very good friend. He was the one who suggested it as a possibility — that is, if no one had already claimed it. A few weeks later, as he stepped onto the dance floor with his new bride, he told me over the music that it was a go. The only thing left was to determine who would get the honors. Mike, our friend at the Cubs, agreed that a sports cartoonist would be an obvious choice. To the best of my knowledge, that meant Bill Hinds or Steve “In the Bleachers” Moore. I couldn’t find Steve in the NCS directory, so I contacted Bill. Unbelievably, he declined. What was more unbelievable was the way he did it, with such subtlety and grace. He knew what our back-up plan was. Mike had also suggested the president of the organization as another standard option. Bill said that he felt uncomfortable with the honor because “Tank McNamara” is no longer running in the Chicago Tribune. I told him that sports fans here grew up with it, so that hardly mattered. Bill gave me a moment to read between the lines. This honor shouldn’t go to “a cartoonist.” It should go to “cartoonists.” The Reuben weekend isn’t simply for the guys with comic strips in the Chicago papers, it’s for all of us. It would be a much more symbolic honor to all of us to have the NCS president throw out the first pitch on our behalf. Also, it doesn’t hurt that Rick Stromoski is an avid baseball fan. He stepped up to this mighty responsibility in an instant. Not only will it boost the image of cartoonists to have an NCS president who can actually throw, but I expect his excitement and enthusiasm to be contagious, which will guarantee a fabulous time for all.

The game is on for Sunday, May 28, at 1:20 PM, against Atlanta. For those who can’t make it to the game, Pat and his chapter have created a piece in the NCS newsletter with great suggestions on what to do in the Windy City while you’re there.

Thanks Pat for the email with the details and making this happen!

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