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What A Deal! Cubs Fans Trade Contreras Home Run Ball For World Series Tix

By Ariel Cheung | October 24, 2016 4:24pm | Updated on October 25, 2016 12:30pm
 Rahul Khare caught Willson Contreras's home run ball Saturday for his son Dylan, 11.
Rahul Khare caught Willson Contreras's home run ball Saturday for his son Dylan, 11.
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DNAinfo/Ariel Cheung

WRIGLEYVILLE — Rahul Khare needed to redeem himself after missing a chance to catch a foul ball during the National League Division Series at Wrigley Field.

The Lakeview resident succeeded in a major way Saturday night — coming up with Cubs catcher Willson Contreras' fourth inning homer in the left field. 

How do you top that? By trading that ball back to Contreras for a chance at the hottest tickets on the planet — two for the World Series.

After snagging the ball, Khare said a Cub rep asked to talk to him and his 11-year-old son, Dylan, about the ball, and escorted them to the security area.

"They said, 'Hey, Contreras would love that ball. Will you give it to him?' " Khare recounted. "I said I wanted to give it to Contreras because it's his ball, and he's a young player. It's a big deal."

Khare suggested trading the ball for World Series tickets, and the attendant offered a meeting with Contreras and a signed baseball. The Cubs said Tuesday they'll help Khare buy World Series tickets at face value.

As the Khares returned to their seats, Dylan was "giddy," his father said.

"I've never seen him like this," Khare said. "Ear-to-ear smiles, jumping up and down. He said, 'I can't believe it,' 10 different times throughout the game."

Khare said had a chance to catch a foul ball during the NLDS but "botched it," watching in dismay as it bounced out of his grasp, he said.

So when he and Dylan went to Saturday's game at Wrigley Field, Khare was prepared, baseball glove in hand.

"I kept telling my son, 'You know, we're going to get one because I brought my glove,'" Khare said Monday. "And he said, 'Don't bring it up,' because he was still upset we missed it last time."

Khare's chance came in the fourth inning, when Contreras stepped up to bat. The rocket shot screamed into the left field bleachers.

The baseball bounced off the left field bleachers and tumbled back to the outfield. Dodger outfielder Andrew Toles picked it up and lobbed it right into Khare's ready glove.

"It was unbelievable," Khare said.

Khare shares Cubs season tickets and gets to attend about 30 games each year, most of which he attends with Dylan, 11. They spent $650 each for two tickets to Saturday's game, which they purchased on Stubhub, Khare said.

His son plays Little League and has always enjoyed baseball, but caught serious Cubs fever this year, Khare said.

Each morning after a Cubs game, Dylan grabs the newspaper to read out the box scores to his parents before watching the game highlights on his dad's phone, Khare said.

Khare became a Cubs fan during an eight-year stint as an urgent care physician for Wrigley Field, caring for injured or ill fans. While he now operates his own practice in Lincoln Park, Khare's love for the Cubbies stuck with him and passed on to his son.

Having never attended a World Series game before, Khare said he's thrilled to share the experience with his Cubs-loving son.

"It's something you always want," Khare said. "For me, having him next to me and witness that is just a great feeling."

The World Series kicks off against the Indians in Cleveland Tuesday.

The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by an entity controlled by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.

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