Ernie Banks? Priceless Moment for MasterCard Holders! @MasterCard #Priceless #Chicago and #MC

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legends dinner with ernie banks

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Thanks to MasterCard, I had the opportunity to attend a special event with Ernie Banks of the Chicago CubsI’m still pinching myself, I can’t believe I had dinner with Ernie Banks.  I.Had.Dinner.With.Ernie.Banks.  Not 50 people and he was in the room, not sitting at a head table.  Ernie Banks sat down and chatted with me and 15 other people, for almost two hours.  This was a Priceless Moment.  A once-in-a-lifetime Priceless Chicago Moment It’s something I will always remember.  It brought back great memories of my childhood, and created a priceless memory of meeting a hero.  And it’s not because I’m a blogger, anyone with a MasterCard Credit Card could sign up for this incredible opportunity through their Priceless program!  But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Summer. Baseball. Ivy. Sunshine. Fun. Cubbies!

Take me out to the ball game, take me out with the crowd

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack

I don’t care if I never get back.

As Americans, baseball is woven into of the fabric of our memories. As a child, my mom would take me to Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs, many times during a summer. She and her friend Josephine (Jo) loved to head out to the games. They were baseball fans but more fans of the whole experience. We loved to “people watch”, enjoy the sunshine, all in the friendly confines of Wrigley (did you know Ernie Banks coined that phrase?). My mom taught me how to keep score on the game programs and I loved doing it! I later had a career as an accountant and I think it all started with those baseball scorecards.

1969 Opening Lineup

1969 Starting Lineup

The Cubs in the late 60’s, early 70’s were an outstanding team. Names like Ferguson Jenkins, Ken Holtzman, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Don Kessinger and the best of all…. MR. CUB, Ernie Banks. Ernie Banks was the Cubs. He symbolized everything fans loved about the sport and the team. An all-around good guy and a great player. A hero!

Ernie Banks Statue Outside of Wrigley Field - Lets Play Two

Ernie Banks Statue Outside of Wrigley Field
Did you know, it at first said, “Lets Play Two”?
The sculptor corrected it early one morning
and added the apostrophe!

What would it mean for me to meet Ernie Banks? It would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As a blogger, I get chances that I never had before I started blogging. When I applied for the Ernie Banks opportunity, I thought it was restricted to social media (bloggers). I was shocked when I saw that it was a promotion for MasterCard Priceless. Anyone with a MasterCard could buy a game ticket and dinner with Ernie Banks at Priceless Chicago! WOW! What would such a thing cost? It’s priceless, right? Only $75! That’s even reasonable to my frugal, budget-minded self. WOW.

Dinner with Ernie Banks At Table

This experience will be something I’ll remember forever.  And ever.  Mr. Banks is even more charming, kind, and nice than I expected.  The event only had about 16 people!  We sat down at one table for dinner and to talk with/listen to, Mr. Cub.  Mr. Banks asked many of us where we were from, what we did for a living.  He told funny stories, heart-warming memories, and shared a meal with us.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime, truly priceless experience!

Mr. Banks said something about Oprah, and I asked him if he’d ever met her.  He said that they were on the same cruise and shared a meal.  He complemented her intelligence and talked about how much she cared for other people and wanted to change the world for the better.  I said, “Two of the most big-hearted people in the world, sitting at the same table.”  But Mr. Banks was much too humble to take credit for that.  In fact, at one point, someone asked him what it was like to win the MVP award, and he said he couldn’t understand why he’d won that honor when he’d never been to a world series.  Humble.  It’s surprised me to learn that Mr. Banks didn’t always want to be a baseball player, he said at one time he wanted to be a lawyer.  One of the other guests said, “Lucky for the world, that that plan didn’t work out.”  You bet!

Ernie Banks CloseUp

When Mr. Banks asked if we remembered our first game at Wrigley Field, I told him that my mom used to bring me as a child on “Ladies Day”.  Women would get in free, one day a week.  If that comes back, I get credit :)  I told him my story about keeping score and knowing that because I liked it, I would like being an accountant.  I had brought one of those old programs with me to be autographed – but when Mr. Banks asked me if he could keep it, I was thrilled.  It would be my honor to give him a gift!  A few of the other guests, were surprised that I didn’t want it back, but I said, “It makes a great story! I’m honored.”

Ernie Banks and Me

I would have been happy with a hot dog for dinner, but the food choices were actually quite extensive and delicious.  Starting off with a fruit and cheese buffet, salads, chef-carved turkey or beef, and the desserts were spectacular.

Food Collage

After dinner, Mr. Banks signed memorabilia that we had brought with us.  One man had a book, “Mr. Cub”, that he had bought and kept since 6th grade!  Another man is a firefighter at the Wrigleyville station and he brought a firefighter’s shirt to give Ernie Banks.  I had baseball cards and another man had a Cubs bat.  The stories of each guest were interesting and diverse.  I could go on and on (my family has heard it all) about everything Mr. Banks said, it was fascinating!

Autographs

Then it was time for the game.  Great seats and the Cubs won!

National Anthem

There are all kinds of amazing, well, priceless opportunities with the MasterCard Priceless program. Things like walking “inside the ropes” with a professional golfer, a behind-the-scenes tour of Blue Man Group, Global Tasting Tours, and unique restaurant or shopping experiences.  There is something for everyone within the categories of Culinary; Shopping; Sports; Travel & About Town; Music & Entertainment; and Arts & Culture.  I enjoyed my Priceless Moment experience so much, that I have already booked the “Meal with Chicago Cubs Owner, Tom Ricketts” for myself and my mom!

Do you have a MasterCard?  Yes?  You have the opportunity for your own MasterCard Priceless Moment!  What are you waiting for?  In the words of Ernie Banks, “Let’s Play Two!”

To learn more about MasterCard Priceless Moments, go to the MasterCard Priceless Moment website.

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