With all the hoopla surrounding Lennie Merullo's tour de force at Wrigley Field Saturday, I didn't want to let the appearance of Louis Reinhart go unmentioned.
Reinhart, who 100 years old and lives in downstate Illinois near Peoria, was supposed to be the fan delivering the game ball to the mound for the home opener April 4. This is an honor that's given to one fan each game, sponsored by a pizza company. As you might recall, Reinhart and his family got stuck in traffic and arrived too late for the ceremonies back on Opening Day at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs invited Reinhart and his family back for Sunday's game, and he and quite a number of family members made the trip in to Chicago for the game-ball delivery, as reported by Mitch Smith in the Tribune:
Reinhart, who lives in Metamora, said he's cheered for the Cubs his whole life. But when his sons wheeled him onto the infield on this breezy June afternoon, it was something different altogether. "It's the first time I got down on the field like that," said Reinhart, who sported a Cubs hat, jersey and jacket and whose lap was covered in a team blanket. "I like seeing the players." After batting practice, a grinning Reinhart took in the scene from the on-deck circle. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo stopped by to take a picture with him and shortstop Starlin Castro, his favorite player on the current roster, signed a ball for him. Later, team chairman Tom Ricketts greeted Reinhart and said "hopefully we can get you a win." But it was the Marlins who took a 4-3 victory.
As noted, it's too bad the Cubs couldn't win for Reinhart (they lost the April 4 game as well), but I'm glad the team made it right for him and he was able to come back to Wrigley and enjoy a game on a beautiful day and be on the field. It must have been a real thrill for him and his family. Good on the Cubs for doing the right thing.