Fan catches two home run balls during first South Bend Cubs opener
SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- In ABC57's morning show, Summer Horan introduces Michiana to Paul Rieck.
Many here in South Bend know the name because he has lived in South Bend his whole life, he played baseball at the old La Salle High School and even raised a daughter here.
But it's that love of baseball that brought him to the South Bend Cubs historic opener against Bowling Green at Four Winds Field on April 9th of 2015.
That game where he caught not one, but two home run baseballs--bare handed in the stands--cheering on a team this life long Cubs fan and South Bend native loved almost as much as the time he got to share with his daughter, Sydney, that day.
“Well it was a dream when they came back here in the first place in 2015. And with the COVID and everything we have a restart now. This after the COVID and everything everyone has gone through, this is just as great as the first ever opening day ever in franchise history. So I hope people enjoy, get out to the ball park and have fun," said Paul Rieck.
When asked if Rieck would be going to the 2021 home opener, he said, “I sure will be, wouldn’t miss it for anything Summer!”
And Paul says in true baseball fashion, the first homer he caught from the competition, Bowling Green's, Thomas Milone, in the third inning that he caught bare handed wasn't kept, but thrown back!
I learned that any homer from he opposing team is always thrown back to show camaraderie with the home team/Cubs.
So yes, he did get to keep the 2nd homer he caught that same game from the South Bend Cubs', Cael Brockmeyer, that shifted the game to a 2-1 win for the Cubs!
And the South Bend Cubs team even gave Rieck an official game ball to keep in place of the first one he threw back.
Rieck is brought to support his favorite team and city and is excited to have baseball back along with a new sense of normalcy we have all been missing.