Mark Feldstein of Sylvania, Ohio, throws out the first pitch at Wrigley Field on June 1 in Chicago.
For the cost of a down payment of a car, Mark Feldstein won the chance to live out a certain dream.
The Sylvania resident who considers himself a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan won the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field on June 1 prior to the Cubs’ 12-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“I’m somebody who always likes the underdog,” said Feldstein, who owns Mark Feldstein and Associates, a Maumee-based retail product development company. “There’s no better underdog than the Cubs.”
Feldstein said he attends anywhere from five to 15 Cubs games a year at Wrigley Field, but before this season never knew about an opportunity to bid on throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game.
Feldstein, 53, placed an online bid of $2,500 in March in conjunction with a Chicago Cubs Charities event that was held in Chicago, for the chance to throw out the first pitch at the venerable ballpark.
Feldstein thought his bid would be for naught. Less than a month later, Feldstein was in Hong Kong on a business trip and said he was contacted by Chicago Cubs Charities, which informed him that he was selected to throw out the first pitch for a game at Wrigley Field.
He didn’t place the highest bid, but was able to pay the $2,500 he had pledged in the online auction.
“Evidently, there were people bidding and weren’t planning on paying,” said Feldstein, whose private foundation donates to the Chicago Cubs’ charities, in addition to various charities in northwest Ohio.
John Andres, a community affairs associate with the Cubs, explained that Feldstein’s chance to throw the first pitch at Wrigley Field was part of the Cubs’ charitable outreach. Andres said the Cubs donate items to various organizations for charitable and fundraising purposes.
Those items and services are offered in different manners through organizations, including Cubs Care, which is a part of the McCormick Foundation, a Chicago-based organization that focuses on children’s education, health, and wellness.
“There’s always sports auctions going on, and through the Kerry Wood Foundation I’ve gotten signed baseballs and bats, or I’ve seen something going on through MLB.com or through team foundations,” Feldstein said. “But nothing like this.”
After he paid for his winning bid, Feldstein said the Cubs contacted him and asked for dates that he would be able to travel to Chicago to take part in pregame ceremonies. Feldstein also looked up a list of people who had thrown out the first pitch this season. That list included actor/comedian Bill Murray and Northern Illinois football coach Rod Carey.
The list also includes a U.S. Coast Guard commander, a breast cancer survivor, and a high bidder; Starwood Resorts and Hotels is auctioning off a chance for someone to throw the ceremonial first pitch on Aug. 16 at Wrigley Field.
Feldstein’s daughters, extended family, and friends were on hand in Chicago to watch Feldstein take part in a pregame rite.
For Feldstein, the friendly confines were ideal.
“I don’t really root for another team,” Feldstein said. “I wouldn’t have any desire to do it elsewhere.”
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