Few Red Sox fans can claim they’ve met their favorite player and thrown a pitch in front of him at Fenway Park with 37,000 fans watching. That’s just what 14-year-old Tyrone did.
Wish child meets David Ortiz and throws first pitch at Red Sox game
Tyrone’s Little League teammates adopted Ortiz’s nickname, “Big Papi,” for him because he’s a true slugger – in one game, he hit three home runs! A kidney condition has Tyrone in and out of the hospital but his discouragement subsides when he talks about baseball and his dream of meeting his source of inspiration, the real “Big Papi.”
Tyrone’s big day at Fenway began with batting practice where he anxiously awaited Ortiz’s arrival murmuring, “I can’t believe I’m here!” When he turned around to find Ortiz in the dugout, Tyrone was stunned. After a brief conversation, Ortiz presented him with the bat from his 2010 Home Run Derby victory, a signed baseball, and inscribed Tyrone’s autograph book: “To my new friend, Tyrone. I will keep you in my heart.”
Tyrone was so enraptured with batting practice that he chose to forego a park tour and other planned activities to watch the entire session and collect autographs from several players who greeted him. He was overcome by his experience, grateful for “the best day of my life.” The Red Sox gave him a goody bag full of memorabilia and then it was off to the souvenir shop to choose something on his own.
Selecting a Red Sox jacket, Tyrone carefully draped it over his arm to keep his muscles warm before pitching, just like the pros do, he explained. Game time was approaching and he would soon be on the field with those pros to throw the first pitch.
Energized by his incredible afternoon, Tyrone proudly walked to the pitcher’s mound as his name was announced. With David Ortiz watching, his pitch sailed over home plate! After roaring cheers and high fives from the crowd, Tyrone and his aunt settled into their seats along the third baseline with a perfect view of the game. It was an exhilarating day with the Red Sox full of amazing memories that will continue to send Tyrone’s spirits soaring out of the park.
Photos: Tyrone meets David Ortiz, who writes in Tyrone’s autograph book after giving him his autographed Home Run Derby bat and a signed baseball; Tyrone heads to the pitcher’s mound to throw the ceremonial first pitch, which flies right over home plate. Photo credits: Michael Blanchard Photography.