CHICAGO -- Wednesday shaped up as just another normal day in the week for Alex Estrada.Normal, that is, until the 7-year-old was greeted at daycare by a limousine and Southpaw, the White Sox mascot, to begin fulfillment of his ultimate wish with a one-of-a-kind experience at Guaranteed Rate Field.Estrada, who
CHICAGO -- Wednesday shaped up as just another normal day in the week for Alex Estrada.
Normal, that is, until the 7-year-old was greeted at daycare by a limousine and Southpaw, the White Sox mascot, to begin fulfillment of his ultimate wish with a one-of-a-kind experience at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Estrada, who is battling Stage 4 neuroblastoma, received a special locker in the White Sox clubhouse with his own nameplate next to the locker belonging to James Shields. He received a White Sox jersey with his name across the back and joined the players on the field for warmups and team stretch.
There also was plenty of mingling with third baseman Yolmer Sanchez and pitcher Hector Santiago, which included playing video games such as Mario Kart before batting practice. For at least one day, the White Sox had a 26th man on the active roster.
"Of course, video games are more of a priority than meeting players," said Vince Estrada, Alex's father, who joined him for the day with the White Sox. "He played and sat with Sanchez and Hector. They were buddy-buddy.
"The players have been great. They have been helping him dramatically. Sanchez and Hector have been awesome. They've been like sidekicks. He has been their sidekick. He's loving it."
Vince mentioned the hot tubs and the cold tubs in the clubhouse really caught the eye of his 7-year-old, who is fighting an illness affecting the pituitary glands located on the kidneys. During Alex's first treatment cycle, he had his left pituitary gland removed, but according to Vince, doctors expect his son to make a full recovery.
Activities ended on Wednesday with Alex doing a home run for life race around the bases about 40 minutes before first pitch with some of the Indians and the entire White Sox team lined up on the third-base and first-base lines. There was then a check presentation from the Andrew Weishar Foundation to Alex after he triumphantly slid into home.
This event is part of this year's Sox Serve Week. The club's 10th-annual community outreach and fundraising campaign engages Sox fans and the Chicagoland community through outreach events with current players and special fundraising opportunities.
Sox Serve Week runs until Saturday and benefits Chicago White Sox Charities (CWSC). And there's one day of this week Alex Estrada never will forget.
"He had no idea. None at all," Vince said. "He loved Southpaw coming in. He's seen Southpaw. He ran right up to him, gave him a hug, high five, jumped around with him. When he realized he was coming here to the game, he was ecstatic. This has been unbelievable for him."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.