–8 Years Ago Was The Biggest Night Of My Life, Tonight Will Try To Come Close As I Toss A Ceremonial First Pitch At Game 7 Of The World Series
–On The “Value Proposition” Of Spending A Million Starpoints For The Experience Of A Lifetime
It seemed like the bidding would go on forever. Starwood extends their auctions by 5 minutes every time a new bid is placed. But then it was finally over, I had won the auction for the experience of a lifetime! And on our 8th anniversary no less!
Just one not so minor detail, I’m just a spectator. A die-hard Indians fan, sure. But I’d rather watch the pros do it. I’ve never pitched a baseball in my life! Well, if you’ve never thrown a baseball, learning how to throw a ball 60 feet in just a day is no easy task.
So I turned to Adam Levine. Not that Adam Levine, just the one who davens at my local Chabad House and organizes local Sunday morning softball games. He worked with me on fielding and hitting before I played a game in Wrigley and I even wound up with a run scored and some RBIs. This time he graciously spent a lot of time making my pitch look halfway respectable. With a few more days I probably could have thrown a perfect strike, but there was just 8 hours from when the auction ended until the time of the pitch.
At first it seemed certain that I would Baba Booey or 50 Cent it:
But eventually I was able to throw the ball over the plate. But what would happen when I was pitching in front of 40,000 fans without even a single warmup pitch?
Meanwhile Indians fans from around the world wanted to see Charlie Sheen toss out the first pitch thanks to his Major League fame. “Get me Vaughn,” is part of Indians sports lore. They took to Twitter demanding that he throw out the first pitch.
Thanks to a Tweet and a DDF member I did get in touch with Charlie’s people. It would be cool to get up on the mound and yell “Get me Vaughn.” But MLB made it clear that they did not want Charlie Sheen on the field, period. The story somehow landed me as the top story on TMZ last night. I did help them find a suite for Charlie though after they were not able to secure one.
MLB reps met with us at the Jake’s press entrance and took Mimi, JJ, my grandfather, and me down to the field level. It’s like another world walking around the field.
What an amazing way to spend your 8th anniversary:
I said hey to Tito and Mike Hargrove:
My grandfather loved it and told Tito about the ’48 and ’54 series he went to:
And then it was time for the big moment. I don’t even know how to possibly describe it. Surreal doesn’t nearly do it justice, but everything around me just froze. The announcer saying my name felt a million miles away. Through the hundreds of Indians games I’ve attended since I was a child I’ve been watching pitchers go up to that mound.
Never in my wildest childhood fantasies could I ever imagine walking up there during a game. And not just any game, but the final game of the World Series.
It was truly an awesome experience and worth every Starpoint that I spent.
The pitch went as good as I could have hoped for considering that I had never pitched a ball and didn’t have any chance to warmup beforehand. It went over the plate with a single bounce. It didn’t go wide right or left. It didn’t dribble to the plate. And I didn’t get boos from the crowd.
That’s a win in my book!
JJ screams his head off in the video, so um, turn down your volume. But here’s the video.
And a video of the Jumbotron:
Is this real life?
And yes, I did have the first pitch. So technically Jim Thome threw out the 2nd pitch :)
The seats that came with the auction were fantastic:
The game itself was an emotional roller coaster. No doubt it will be considered one of the top World Series games of all time. The crowd was raucous and on their feet. The stadium probably had 30-40% Cubbies fans, which made for an interesting experience. After the Indians tied the game at 6, it just felt like it was bound to happen in the bottom of the 9th. They had come back from too far to not go all the way.
It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but at the end of the day this Indians team surprised everyone. Even their own beat writer. The whole county felt like it was rooting for the Cubs as they hadn’t won for 108 years, as if the Indians 68 year drought was nothing. Even my 5 year old son Rafi told me before I went to the game that the Cubbies were going to win.
For the Tribe to make it so far without their best hitter and their #2 and #3 starting pitchers is mind-boggling. And for them to do it on a salary that was $100MM less than the Cubbies is a testament to great management. However the Indians heavily overworked pitching staff simply ran out of steam at the end. Sure it would have been icing on the cake had the Indians won and the loss was bitterly disappointing, but it didn’t take from the whole experience.
Right now it feels like when the Cavs lost in 2015 when they didn’t have Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love for the finals. But hey, they came back to win it earlier this year. And odds are they’ll play the rubber match next year in the Finals.
Congrats to Cubbies fans on winning it all though.
Hopefully the Indians can stay healthy next year and have an awesome rematch with the Cubbies in 2017. And may the team with the longer drought come out on top ;)
And hopefully another sports obsessed mileage junkie will have the once in a lifetime experience that I had before game 7.
The first pitched ball of Game 7:
I’ve flown around the world in first class countless times, stolen 2nd base in middle of an Indians game, swam with normally poisonous Jellyfish in Palau, seen the Polar Bears near the North Pole, and thrown out the first pitch of a World Series game. But better than all that I have an awesome loving wife and an amazing little son and daughter. I thank G-d every day for those blessings and the life that I live.
The only real question is where should my next adventure be?
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