5 Years Ago Tonight I Spent A Million Points To Throw Out The First Pitch In The World Series, You Won’t Believe What The First Pitch Sold For This Year

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I’ve used 8 figures of miles earned from credit cards to fly myself and my family around the world in first class cabins and stay in five star hotels that would have otherwise cost millions of dollars. There’s no better hobby in the world. Here are some of the ways that I’ve burned my miles. But just as memorable as a refreshing shower or a couples suite on a plane, are the sports experiences that I’ve redeemed miles for.

5 years ago, on November 2nd, 2016, was by far my most memorable mileage redemption. I spent over a million SPG Starpoints to throw out the first pitch before the epic game 7 of the 2016 World series.

As a 6th generation Clevelander, summer is synonymous with nights cheering on the Tribe at the ballpark, eating some kosher dogs with Bertman’s Ballpark Mustard, taking the train back home, in Cleveland and on the road from Boston to KC, and from Minneapolis to the awesome Legends Suites in the Bronx, with my baseball loving grandfather.

As a kid watching the Indians of the 90s playing amazing baseball and memorizing every player’s stats, I dreamed of being called up to pitch in game 7 of a World Series in Cleveland. Now, I can’t actually play ball for my life (though my son can!), so I always figured that would remain a dream unless I became the Indians’ GM or manager.

And then along came the Starwood auction and I knew I’d win it, no matter what the cost. After all, miles are best used for aspirational or dream awards. Why else was I building a stash of tens of millions of miles, from opening thousands of credit cards to lugging hundreds of thousands of dollar coins to banks over the years, if not for a moment like this?

It wasn’t a question of how could I justify going for it. It was a question of how could I justify not going for it!


Besides, who would want to spend a month in a stuffy Manhattan hotel anyway? 😉


Luckily, I hadn’t won the Starpoint auction for a trip to Antarctica, as that would have caused me to miss game 7 of the World Series! When another auction didn’t come up for that, I did what I had to do and organized the first 21st century kosher cruise to Antarctica so that I could check that off my bucket list.

The auction didn’t close until the morning of the game and that day is just a blur. First, Jewish news outlets covered the story. And then somehow I was the top story on TMZ. Go figure.


I was able to bring my grandfather, my brother JJ, and my wife on our anniversary night, onto the field before game 7.


On Cloud 9:


After I threw out the first pitch we got 2nd row seats, right behind the Cubs owners. Comparable tickets to what was included in the Starwood auction sold for tens of thousands of dollars each. Other tickets next to us were on sale for $40,000 each! Too bad they didn’t just use Starpoints and get to throw out the first pitch as well! 😀


We got to game 7 at about 7pm, spent half an hour on the field, and threw out the first pitch at 7:30pm. After I got to toss the first pitch, Jim Thome got to throw a first pitch as well.


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The game was one for the ages, though it didn’t end up the way I hoped. When Rajai Davis homered it seemed like 68 years of waiting would soon be over. When the ball left Jason Kipnis’ bat in the 9th, I was sure that it was all over. Alas a rain delay followed and the rest is history. But it was still a night I’ll never forget.



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I still grin from ear to ear just thinking about the entire experience.


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Unfortunately, Marriott gobbled up Starwood and they didn’t renew their contract with MLB.

But I did notice that the first pitch was being sold for cash this year.

How much did it go for?

There were 64 bids and it wound up selling for a cool half a million dollars:


I guess that means I got a value of about 50 cents per Starpoint? Not bad at all! 😀



You can read more about what I wrote in 2016 about the experience here:

What your your most memorable mileage redemption?

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34 Comments On "5 Years Ago Tonight I Spent A Million Points To Throw Out The First Pitch In The World Series, You Won’t Believe What The First Pitch Sold For This Year"

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This is the best story you ever got to write and participate in. I read it all over whenever you post it. Truly a once in a lifetime experience that few will ever get to do. When I heard that day that the winner was a blogger, there was no doubt in my mind it was you.


Happy anniversary!!
Wishing you and Mimi many more blissful years together.


I was at that game. It was cool seeing you up on the Jumbotron. Game 7 of the World Series, at home. What a thrill that must have been!

Brian G

If there is a way to embed a picture, then I can share one of Dan and I (with the ball) from that night as well.


Are you going to change your hats and jerseys to the Guardians?


Is that a typo? Have you really opened thousands of credit cards?

Sam Lange

+/- inflation on the points 😉


wow תנור ראשון


Great article, I can see you enjoying the fact that you just realized how good your deal was.

I would just love to become technical & say that you didn’t really get a 50 cents per point value since at that time people wouldn’t pay the amount they paid today. Perhaps, you actually gave them a free advertising as your posts helped them get more money for today’s auction.


Game 7 would likely be considered more valuable than game 1 fwiw


in Houston throwing out the first pitch goes for 1 million points. But banging on the ceremonial trash can goes for 2 million 🙂


so what would your max bid have been?


Who are the Indians? Such a team even exists? Are they AAA or little league?

Chaim F

The first time I used miles/points was to cover an expensive but urgently needed flight between LGA and Toronto in business class.

I’m looking forward to possibly flying Delta One Suites to Israel in the winter.


So what if it ended at game 6? SPG would refund the points?

Guess that would kinda sucked if you won the auction then didn’t get to throw 1st pitch..?

Thinking the value of a game 7 ticket might be worth 200k or so.

Wasn’t the value of SPG points different back then? As I recall the conversion was 3:1 to Marriott when we converted..?


Love it, Dan. So glad your passion got to make your childhood dreams come true. Keep doing what you do, we appreciate it immensely.

Cubs fan

great story
That night was also the greatest night in Cubs baseball history
I was able to attend one of the world series games and just being at a game was great
I cant imagine getting on the field and throwing out the “first Pitch”
good luck to the Indians/Guardians as long as its not vs the Cubs


This is so awesome and I remember being excited for you when you first mentioned it. It also shows how fast time flies cause I’ve followed you for at least that long. I miss the SPG experiences portal just to look at the options of amazing opportunities. This weekend I’m taking my kids to NASCAR finale. We are F1 fans and F1 will have to wait with covid issues and/or tickets that are obscenely priced. FYI I paid $$ and they had cheap options for families. I could probably resell for a bunch, but I’m going to be cheering Let’s roll Landon. AND enjoying my first NASCAR and hotdogs.


I remember when you threw the ball. I would not have paid a million for that but I got the idea. Antarctica sounds interesting to me. Maybe someday Ill take that flight from Sydney to view the form above. I am scared of the turbulent seas over there. No way I could survive that. I would be miserable.


Which flight from Sydney goes over Antarctica?


Qantas has a sightseeing flight. Passengers will move around the cabin based on the class of ticket they have to see different views. They have a guide on the flight as well. Its 12 hours round trip from Sydney.



I should also add I was at Florida Marlins Game 7 in 1997 vs Cleveland in Miami.