Sundays at Dolphin Stadium are traditionally known for being Family Sundays. A day for parents to spend making memories with their children and enjoy the great game of baseball. Disney radio, kid’s giveaways, and a Kid’s Corner photo op with a marlins player are a few treats for the little ones. Generally, Sundays are a great experience for our kids and a memory they will cherish for a lifetime. As wonderful as these days can be, I have sadly witnessed many instances that players from both the visiting and home team, have been rude to children requesting an auto or have just flat out ignored them. Today, I witnessed for the first time, an undeniable act of kindness.
A group of young children were grouped up in the corner of the stands nearest to the Marlins dug out. Many of them requested autographs of random players that walked by, often calling them “Hey number 12” or “Hey Ross” because they didn’t know who they were. Most of the children got their autos and were very pleased, but one ballsy little boy had the courage to ask Josh Willingham for his batting gloves. Josh gave the boy a pleasant smile and replied with a simple “maybe” as he walked towards the batting cages. The young boy looked disappointed as Willingham walked away. He naturally assumed that the ball player would not return. After a few minutes, to the surprise of everyone, Josh had returned. He tossed the young boy his batting gloves and the child jumped with glee. “Thank you!” shouted the boy. He then placed the enormous batting gloves on his tiny hands and proclaimed “The Hammer just gave me his batting gloves!”. It is always wonderful to see players interacting with fans and I am willing to bet anything that this will be a memory that this young boy will cherish well into his teenage years.
I believe that Willingham’s good karma did not go unnoticed by the baseball gods because Willingham was brought into the 8th inning that day and was given the chance to save his team from a 6-1 loss. Long story short, Josh became some what of a hero that Sunday as he helped lift his team to an 8-6 win against the Washington Nationals.
A big thumbs up to Josh Willingham, a class act both on and off the field! 🙂