Section 218, Row 15, Seat 2

By Chris Rewers on Saturday, May 22, 2010

My friend, Kevin, won an auction last winter and was awarded 50 terrace reserved tickets to a Cubs game, plus the right to throw out a ceremonial first pitch.

Kevin, himself, is a Sox fan but he did a cool thing by granting his father-in-law, a huge Cubs fan, the first-pitch honors. Al Belluomini, a very kind and soft-spoken man (and like me, a St. Ambrose University alumnus) from Tinley Park, was sporting his Cubs road jersey that featured his lengthy surname stitched across the back. When I spoke to him before the game, Al was excited and a bit nervous.

He told me that a Wrigley employee told him he could make the pitch from the mound or in front of the mound, on the infield grass.

"I'm going to throw from the mound," Al said. "How many chances do you get to do something like this?"

Al's primary concern was hitting the catcher's glove. He feared that the height of the mound and his nerves would cause him to uncork a wild pitch.

Al's name was displayed on the message board below the center-field scoreboard as he was escorted by a ballpark employee from the on-deck circle to the mound and introduced by public address announcer Paul Friedman.

Friedman butchered his name, but I doubt that Al noticed.

Al stepped on top of the mound, took a deep breath, reared back, and let a pitch fly that reached catcher James Russell on one bounce. Mission accomplished!

As for my seat:

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It wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. I feared that the center-field scoreboard would be obscured by the upper deck, but was able to see it just fine. Another advantage was a TV monitor that hung from the upper deck a few rows in front of me that enabled me to view replays. Plus, in the event of rain, I had cover.

There were two problems, however. The left-field corner was obscured and I had to lean left to see home plate because of a beam that was directly in front of me.

I got to witness a Cubs victory, improving my 2010 Wrigley record to 3-1. But Al Belluomini definitely stole the show.

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