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Bandits surprise young softball player who called out Chuck E. Cheese’s game

After an MLB-licensed arcade game at a local Chuck E. Cheese’s made 9-year-old Marie Marcum feel like she should be ashamed to play softball, key members of Chicago’s professional softball franchise wanted to make sure to send her a more uplifting message.

That’s why Bandits general manager Toni Calmeyn, team staff and their mascot, Swiper, spent their Saturday afternoon visiting Marcum and her traveling team, the Plainfield Twisters, for a practice they’ll never forget.

Marcum had been playing an arcade game at a Chuck E. Cheese’s in suburban Chicago last week when her performance led the game to shout a dig at her: “Hey, there’s always softball!” Her mother noticed she was so upset afterwards that they wrote a letter to MLB and Chuck E. Cheese’s requesting that changes be made to make the game more welcoming.

“It made it seem like baseball was better (It’s not),” Marcum wrote in the letter. “It was trying to say that if you missed, you should just go play softball … It made [me] feel that I wasn’t good enough.”

The Plainfield Twisters with members of the Chicago Bandits. | Carolyn Buhrow/Photo provided by Bandits

The Rosemont-based Bandits, who are set for their 15th season in the National Pro Fastpitch league this summer, wanted to make sure she knows she’s good enough.

“Loved your letter. It was awesome,” Calmeyn said to Marcum. “We loved it, our coaches loved it, our players loved it. It’s gotten a lot of attention.”

Bandits outfielder Brenna Moss and head coach Laura Lappin also recorded video messages for Marcum, and the team provided ticket vouchers and merchandise to the young athletes.

“It made me happy because Marie was sticking up for our team, and all the girls that want to play softball,” one member of the Plainfield Twisters said.