As thousands of Californians take stock of the damage caused by wildfires, one boy’s story has at least half of the teams in Major League Baseball rallying behind him.
In a letter to the Oakland Athletics, posted on Twitter by Katie Utehs, an ABC 7 News Bay Area journalist, 9-year-old Loren Jade Smith writes about his love of the team and the loss of his beloved baseball collection in the fire.
“[M]y house burned down in Santa Rosa and my saddest things was my baseball collection cards, my 17 jerseys and 10 hats and my baseball from the game and also a ball signed by the whole team and Ricky [Henderson] and Bob Melvin,” Smith wrote. “I had a major league baseball and it all burned up. So sad. I know you are not all together but hope they get this.”
A’s President Dave Kaval quickly posted on Twitter: “This is so touching. So sad to hear about their loss. We would be happy to completely outfit the family in new @Athletics gear.”
The responses snowballed. The A’s tweeted out an address that people could use to send baseball memorabilia to the young fan.
And one after another, major league teams responded, along with minor league teams and other individuals who wanted to help.
“Hey Loren, we got a package with your name on it on the way!” wrote the Tampa Bay Rays. “We’ve got a Padres pack on its way for Loren — including an autographed Mark McGwire baseball,” the San Diego Padres said.
The collective responses appear to have the makings of a world-class memorabilia collection for the fire survivor.
Prior to the outpouring of support, Loren’s dad, Tait Smith, told ABC 7 that it “breaks my heart just that he is not going to be back here screaming and yelling home runs that he hit over the fence with the whiffle ball to the neighbors.” The news piece shows the father and son throwing and batting in the backyard of their burned home.
The A’s say they are working with other Bay Area teams on disaster relief efforts, committing a total of $450,000.
Here are the MLB responses to the A’s callout: