Ganchiff and son

Before he became a father, Ted Ganchiff, 42, never imagined that he would be a “dad among moms” at Lake View’s Nettelhorst School, where he heads up fundraising. Nor did he picture a life that revolved around the machinations of major-league baseball: As dad to five-year-old Alex, who seems to have a preternatural understanding of baseball, Ganchiff throws hundreds of pitches every day.

THE DAILY DRILL “First thing out of bed is checking for replays, trades, scores, and updates.” On summer days, Ganchiff lugs a sports bag filled with 100 baseballs (and extra mitts for passersby recruited to shag balls) to the park across the street from their Lake View condo. During the school year, it’s afterschool programs at Nettelhorst and “foam baseball” in the house.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT A Palm Centro. Ganchiff runs a communications consultancy, SpinForce, with his wife of nearly 11 years; his handheld, he says, is like an office in his pocket. “It gives me the freedom to work and answer e-mails so I don’t have to leave the park.”

FAVORITE FAMILY OUTINGS Besides the ball field, which is a given, Ganchiff and Alex frequent the Museum of Science and Industry (57th St. and Lake Shore Dr.; 773-684-1414, “I loved it as a kid, and I love it as a dad.”

TOP SPOT FOR A BIKE RIDE “We stick to the sidewalks on the north side of Lincoln Park [W. Waveland Ave. and N. Lake Shore Dr.]. Unfortunately, we don’t find the lakefront bike trail to be kid-friendly. People go too fast, using it like it’s their own personal racetrack.”

A FATHER-SON PROJECT This summer, he and Alex are crossing their fingers that a Cubs cameraman will catch their condo on video. “You can see our window during Cubs games when they do the shots toward the lake, and we want to put a sign in our window of how many feet it would be [3,180] to hit a ball to our house.”

KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS The Flower Flat Café (622 W. Addison St.; 773-871-0888) and El Mariachi (3420 N. Broadway; 773-549-7020).
“They greet Alex by name, and at El Mariachi, they just bring him his standard order.” For dessert, Ganchiff and Alex love the ice cream at Windy City Sweets (3308 N. Broadway; 773-477-6100). “Best place in the city.”

BEST BOOK FOR BEDTIME The Sesame Street Dictionary, by Linda Hayward ($24.99 at Chicago Kids Book Store & More, 3453 N. Southport Ave.; 773-472-6657).”We’ve been reading it every night for two and a half years.”


Photograph: Lisa Predko