Rehabbing San Francisco Giants star Brandon Belt made a quick stop in San Jose on Friday to suit up for the Giants Advanced Class-A affiliate. While there, he didn't have any problems making a few new friends, including one special friend to whom he made and kept a special promise.
According to Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News, 12-year-old cancer survivor Lyndsey Dworkin was on hand to throw out the first pitch prior to San Jose's game against the Visilia Rawhide. Before taking the field, she had an opportunity to meet with several San Jose Giants players, including the visiting Belt. During that conversation, San Francisco's regular first baseman
promised Dworkin that he'd hit a home run just for her in his return.
Belt, on a rehab assignment from a broken thumb, felt an instant kinship with the girl on the mend. Lyndsey has undergone 31 bouts of radiation and nine rounds of chemotherapy. At the end of the conversation, Belt told her: "I'm going to hit a home run for you."
Kristine Dworkin, the girl's mom, was among those who was listening.
"I thought, 'What a sweet thing to say. He seems like a nice guy,' " Kristine said.
"I thought, 'C'mon, Brandon. A home run? Maybe promise a single,' " said Juliana Paoli, the San Jose Giants chief marketing officer.
It sounded like a crazy promise considering it was Belt's first game action since breaking his thumb on May 9, but he didn't take long to make good. In the very first inning, Belt launched a towering shot over the right-field fence at Municipal Stadium that ended up rolling to the parking lot.
The last part is actually signficant as well, because it allowed San Jose Giants personnel to retrieve the baseball so they could give it to Dworkin. But first, they had to get a special signature and message from Belt.
"To Lyndsey, My Good luck charm. — Brandon Belt."
As for Lyndsey's reaction?
"I kind of forgot about it," she said with a laugh Saturday. She was thrilled to have met Belt, but it wasn't until Paoli came bearing the souvenir ball retrieved from the parking lot that the kid remembered the home run promise. "That's when I said, 'Oh, yeah. He did say that.' "
Understandable considering all of the excitement that was happening, but rest assured, the entire experience — from her first pitch to Belt's homer — is a memory Lynsey Dworkin and everybody involved will carry with them for a long time.
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