Daniel Rodriguez must be good luck.
The soon-to-be-10-year-old fan with Down syndrome had a reunion with Willson Contreras before Tuesday afternoon's game against the White Sox at Wrigley Field. Contreras promptly responded with a three-run homer in the first inning, roughly an hour after meeting up with Daniel:
Let it go. pic.twitter.com/H5KUfl30Q6— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 25, 2017
Happy B-day Daniel. Contreras 3R HR for #Cubs— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 25, 2017
It was Contreras' 16th homer of the season. The distance of all his blasts equals almost 1.2 miles:
All 16 of Willson Contreras home runs this year. Around 1.2 miles of them.... pic.twitter.com/eRqbdojXWg— Daren Willman (@darenw) July 25, 2017
Daniel and Contreras have met a couple times before, with the first time coming as part of the Cubs Caravan over the winter. Then came spring training, when Daniel's family was part of a group of nine families Advocate flew down to Mesa, Ariz., to meet and interact with the Cubs. Contreras - who has a nine-year-old cousin with Down syndrome back in Venezuela - remembered Daniel from the Caravan and the two became fast friends.
All nine families got together for a reunion at Wrigley Field Tuesday and surprised Daniel ahead of his 10th birthday on Wednesday.
In addition to the homer, Contreras also gave Daniel batting gloves, a helmet and an official Contreras jersey. The gesture drew applause from fans behind the Cubs dugout, even making some tear up:
Willson making fans behind Cubs dugout tear up with his charitable gesture pic.twitter.com/eTrU9iIMHT— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) July 25, 2017
Willson gave Daniel some swag - a helmet and a Contreras jersey, naturally. pic.twitter.com/DpY5L8duCj— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) July 25, 2017
Willson reunited with his buddy Daniel: pic.twitter.com/2xzR0Cr3Y0— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) July 25, 2017
Posted by Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, July 25, 2017
After Daniel's reunion with Contreras, all the Advocate families came out onto the field with Clark the Cub and posed for pictures behind home plate:
Daniel showing Clark his new batting gloves and jersey courtesy of Contreras. 8 other families are here via Advocate, too. pic.twitter.com/bu28lrFmsn— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) July 25, 2017
Selfie time with his dad and Clark:
Unfortunately, one of the kids of the Advocate group wasn't able to make it, as Talia Freund passed away this spring. The Cubs honored her at the end of the three-minute video they played pregame:
Contreras has an event coming up for Special Olympics on Aug. 3: