The start of baseball season had special meaning to the employees of InventHelp this spring. For the second year in a row, the company partnered with the Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia Make-A-Wish® Chapter to grant a wish to a deserving child with a complicated heart condition.
Blaise, an energetic 9-year-old from Beaver, Pennsylvania loves sports and his hero Pittsburgh Pirates player, Andrew McCutchen. Not only does he watch baseball but he memorizes hits, runs, errors, and averages. He watches all the games, sometimes in person at PNC Park. Also not a coincidence, Blaise too plays center field, just like McCutchen.
There was little doubt when Blaise was referred to Make-A-Wish by his cardiologist his wish would involve the Pittsburgh Pirates. With his dad, mom, and sister - William, Cathy, and Savannah – he took his first plane ride and traveled to Bradenton, Florida, to take part in Spring Training. Blaise was getting called up to the big leagues!
The night before his big day, Blaise and his family spent the evening at Pirates City, the team’s minor league training facility. They got a tour, then met and had dinner with the players. Outfielder Jeff Roy made fast friends with Blaise and they spent the evening together playing pool, ping pong, and video games.
The next morning, upon arrival back at Pirates City, Blaise was handed an iPad. On it was a message from McCutchen. After that, the first order of business was to sign his Pirate’s contract. Blaise was officially a member of the team.
Up next was a tour of McKechnie Field that ended with an exclusive look of the locker room where Blaise had his own locker with his name on it, a uniform that included an official personalized jersey, and McCutchen’s Number 22 on the back.
McCutchen stayed with Blaise the entire day until the 1:05 p.m. game start against Baltimore. He took him through fielding exercises, batting practice, and pre-game stretches. He showed him how to hold a bat, field a ball, apply cologne, and never to forget his sunscreen!
The biggest surprise was right before the game when Blaise was asked to throw out the first pitch. Blaise admitted he was a bit nervous on the mound but was calmed by the sight of McCutchen waiting to receive the pitch. While his throw was a little outside, it made it to the plate, right into McCutchen’s glove.
Blaise is pint-sized dynamo, just 3 feet tall and 48 pounds, his size a by-product of his illness. But size doesn’t matter when you’re all heart and you’re standing on your own fields of dreams.
The InventHelp team is once again grateful and humbled to have been a part of Blaise’s special day. We are honored to partner with Make-A-Wish to help children fulfill their dreams.