David Ross, Cubs celebrate ‘special’ inaugural Lou Gehrig Day

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‘It's a special day’: Cubs raise ALS awareness, funds originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Saints legend Steve Gleason sat behind the Wrigley Field mound as his young son Rivers climbed the bump to throw the ceremonial first pitch Wednesday.

The Cubs hosted the Padres on Major League Baseball’s inaugural Lou Gehrig Day. The Wrigley Field festivities included video presentations, fund raising and the Gleasons’ first pitch. Steve Gleason was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis a decade ago.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive degenerative disease that causes loss of muscle control. Along with Gleason, who founded the non-profit 'Team Gleason' to improve life for people living with ALS, the Cubs hosted several ALS organizations at Wrigley Field on Wednesday.

“When we can bring awareness to these things and raise money and help out with these afflictions that take over people's bodies, I think it's always a great thing,” Cubs manager David Ross said.

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The Cubs have several close ties to the cause. Rookie pitcher Tommy Nance’s dad is living with ALS, as the Marquee Sports Network and play-by-play announcer Jon Sciambi highlighted Wednesday. Sciambi witnessed his own friend Tim Sheehy’s battle with ALS. Sheehy founded 'Project Main St.' with a group of friends before his death in 2007. Sciambi still sits on the non-profit's board.

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Ross, who in the interlude between his playing and managing careers shared the broadcast booth with Sciambi, attended a Project Main St. event after a game in New York. Ross also played for the Red Sox when former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates helped popularize the “ice bucket challenge,” which raised over $100 million for ALS research.

“It's a special day,” Ross said of Lou Gehrig Day. “I’m just glad Major League Baseball has really brought this thing to the forefront.”

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