CHICAGO – Before she stepped onto the grass at Wrigley Field to throw a ceremonial first pitch Friday afternoon, Aimee Suyko’s son Parker had some words of encouragement.
“Mom, no matter how you do, you’re a much better pitcher than you were before,” he said.
With that, the Cary resident jogged to the mound, donning a pink Cubs hat as a reminder of the breast cancer she beat more than a year ago. She wound up and sent the pitch right down the middle. It took one bounce beyond the plate and into the glove of Cubs pitcher Justin Grimm.
It was the result of lots of practice with Parker, who pitches for his little league team. Suyko, 42, was satisfied.
“It went over the plate,” she said. “It was good. I’m happy. It was exactly what I was going for.”
The story began a few months ago, when Suyko began to campaign for Advocate Health Care’s breast cancer awareness efforts. When she found a voicemail on
her phone about throwing out the pitch at the Cubs game, she wasn’t sure what to say.
With 12-year-old triplets, there’s always something going on, and Suyko wasn’t sure whether the family would be in town. But a quick phone call with her husband Mike cleared up any questions.
“That’s like a schedule-canceling thing,” he told her. “I’ll clear my schedule for it. You call her back and tell her yes.”
And she did. Before she knew it, Suyko was on a major league baseball field for the first time. She was throwing the first of two “first” pitches, just before Pat Brickhouse, the wife of late Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse.
Suyko may have been calm when she entered the Friendly Confines, but all that went out the window when she stepped onto the field.
“Everyone was telling me how huge of a game this was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was nervous until I was on the grass, and then it was out of control.”
Once she nailed the throw, it was back into the stands to enjoy a 7-6 Cubs win over St. Louis with her husband and three children. Suyko grew up a Brewers fan in Wisconsin, but now her allegiance is as clear as the sky was Friday at Wrigley.
“I’m a Chicago fan.”