Schedule issue lands O'Donnell at ALCS
Actor with Chicago ties gets to see hometown team Sunday
ANAHEIM -- Chris O'Donnell, star of such films as "Scent of a Woman," "Batman Forever" and "The Bachelor" was on his way to Angel Stadium with his 5-year-old son Chip to buy some tickets for Game 5 of the American League Championship Series from a scalper.
"I have $1,000 in my pocket and was more than willing to pay it for good seats," said O'Donnell. "Then I realized I have a buddy who works for FOX Sports. I called him and he not only only gave me tickets to a suite, we got passes to come on the field."
O'Donnell and his family were actually scheduled to be at their home in Chicago today and were going to attend the Bears-Vikings game, but a scheduling conflict came up and the family stayed in California.
"My son and I really wanted to see some sports and the White Sox playing the Angels in the playoffs? You can't beat that," said O'Donnell. "We've been prepping for this game all morning by hitting balls in our backyard. [Chip] hit three home runs, so he's ready to go and to be on the field is a great thrill. It reminds me of my childhood."
When entering Angel Stadium, the actor realized he was definitely in enemy territory.
"I have my White Sox cap on and I wanted to get one for my son and they are nowhere to be found here," said O'Donnell. "I saw some other Sox fans and asked if they'd seen any hats or shirts that they can purchase and they said they had scoured the stadium and couldn't find a thing."
The 35-year-old actor grew up in Winnetka, Ill., and has ties to the White Sox going back pretty much to the day he was born.
"My dad was an executive at WBBM in Chicago," said the actor. "I remember meeting Harry Caray as a kid. Comiskey Park is where we had all my birthday parties and we used to sit in the owner's box all the time. I remember I couldn't stop looking at [former White Sox owner] Bill Veeck's wooden leg. My brothers and sisters and I would be in the box watching the game and I'd keep looking down at his leg and I'd think it's cool the guy's got a wooden leg."
O'Donnell even got to be the honorary batboy at a game on Aug. 29, 1981, when the White Sox were getting beaten up by the New York Yankees, 12-1.
"I was really bummed," said O'Donnell. "Here I am on the field and my team is getting trounced, but then Greg Luzinski hit a solo homer and I got to high-five him when he came back to the dugout. I still have the video of that game."
O'Donnell, who splits his time between Los Angeles and his home in Chicago, heard about the dilemma fellow actor John Cusack recently went through when the question of loyalty to one or another Chicago team came up.
"I understand completely what John's going through," said O'Donnell. "I live right near Wrigley [Field], which is like going to the local pub for me, but I love both teams and I'm extremely happy for the White Sox and what they are doing this year. If they make it to the World Series, we'll find a way to get to some of the games.
If O'Donnell is planning to use a scalper, he's going to need a lot more than a $1,000 to get tickets for one of those games.
Ben Platt is a national correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.