WHO: The Pokaski family of West Roxbury: Paul, 52; Yolanda, 47; Paul Jr., 15; Julie, 12; and Yolanda's niece Carmela Petrillo, 16, of Italy. With Pokaski's sister and family, the Harveys of Braintree: Karen, 43; Chris, 43; Catherine, 13; Kyle, 9.
WHAT: Midwest baseball bash
WHEN: A week in July
WHY: ''Being good Red Sox fans, we enjoy baseball games," Paul Sr. said. ''And we try to do a lot of family trips. Our kids are really good company for each other."
FIRST BASE: ''Three of the four games we went to were at night, so we had to do something during the day. Chicago is a good place to do it," Paul Sr. said.
ALL-STAR ADVANTAGE: ''One of the sidelights from the All-Star game being played [in Chicago] earlier that week is there were 30 life-size Bobblehead Dolls of players throughout the city. We saw quite a few of them," Paul Sr. said. ''The head was knocked off of one of the Yankees."
IN CHICAGO: ''We try to start off in a city by taking one of those tour buses," Paul Sr. said. ''We also did the Sears Tower and the Navy Pier. It was a perfect summer night and there was a wonderful fireworks display over Lake Michigan. Another wonderful day we took a river and lake cruise. You get a wonderful view of the city's skyline in the background."
GETTING IN THE MOOD: Paul Jr. chose the first night's restaurant: ''I picked out Harry Caray's, named for the famous Cubs broadcaster. The food was pretty good, and they have some good baseball memorabilia."
GAME ONE: At the White Sox's new ballpark they saw the Sox play Cleveland and enjoyed an unexpected bonus -- it was half-price ticket night.
GAME TWO: They drove in two rental cars to Milwaukee to see the Brewers play Houston. ''Milwaukee was an interesting city," Paul Sr. said. ''We had to have our Polish sausage, and we went for the Miller Brewery Tour."
HELPING HOLLYWOOD: After the game at the new Miller Park, they and a few thousand others stayed two more hours to be extras for a scene from ''Mr. 3000," a movie starring Bernie Mac. ''When Bernie walks up, we all gave him a standing ovation," Paul Jr. said. ''We went through the scene three or four times."
GAME THREE: On the way to St. Louis, they went back through Chicago for a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. ''We saw Sammy Sosa make a home run. That was a treat," Paul Sr. said. ''And there was a Barbie doll giveaway. All the girls got a Barbie doll with the Cubs logo."
GAME FOUR: Before seeing the Cardinals and Pittsburgh play in St. Louis, ''we went to the top of the arch," Paul Sr. said. At the game, ''they were giving away baseball caps. Everyone got one."
SEEING RED: They saw former Red Sox player Carl Everett, now with the White Sox, and former Sox manager Jimmy Williams, now manager of the Houston Astros. At batting practice in St. Louis, they spotted Pittsburgh Pirate and former Sox player Jeff Suppan. ''I yelled to him that I'd liked what he did with the Red Sox," Paul Jr. said. ''He kind of acknowledged me." A few weeks later, he was traded back to the Sox.
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