It started with a tweet from a grieving father to big league All-Star Jose Bautista, and in one response it became a full fledged dedication of Friday night's game in Toronto to his son's memory.
On Wednesday, Steve Lendosky, father of 9-year-old Derek Lendosky, who died in an accident last Sunday just three days before his 10th birthday, reached out to the Toronto Blue Jays slugger with the sad news of his son's death.
@JoeyBats19 On Friday I will be burying my 9yr old son. He will be wearing his Bautista jersey and taking a ball you gave him with him.
— Steve Lendosky (@iamlongball) August 7, 2013
Despite living in Fennimore, WI, Derek had grown up a Blue Jays fan, and more specifically a fan of Bautista's, and his father simply wanted Bautista to know that he'd lost a fan and someone who idolized him. Though Lendosky asked for nothing, Bautista was moved enough by his tweet that he announced prior to Friday night's game against the Oakland A's that he would dedicate it to Derek Lendosky's memory.
— Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19) August 9, 2013
A classy gesture by the four-time All-Star. And wouldn't you know, despite the Blue Jays falling 14-6 to the A's thanks largely to Josh Reddick's three home runs, Bautista came through big on his dedication, connecting for a home run and two doubles.
It's amazing what a few little words and one swing of the bat can do to raise people's spirits.
@JoeyBats19 Now that I have time, thank you so much for this gesture. This gesture means so much to so many. You have no idea. Thank you.
— Steve Lendosky (@iamlongball) August 9, 2013
And not just those affected by tragedy.
After hearing what Jose Bautista did tonight for a family in Wisconsin I have gained a whole new respect for him
— Scott Wigner (@ScottVigne) August 10, 2013
Well done, Jose Bautista. You may have lost one fan, but your actions and your kindness have earned you many, many more.
Big BLS H/N: Hardball Talk