A trip to the MLB Fan Cave in New York City to play Wiffle ball must have been fun enough for 13-year-old Nick D'Annibale, a seventh grader who happens to also be a survivor of leukemia. Just getting a chance to play in the street, semi-Willie Mays-style — to hit and pitch, with other baseball fans — some 18 months after being diagnosed, that alone made for a happy Friday.
And then the ice cream van showed up, announcing its presence with the appropriate music box soundtrack. Car! Ice cream delay — those are the best.
But then, instead of the Ice Cream Man, none other than Robinson Cano popped out of the van, wearing the same No. 24 that D'Annibale wore on his back.
"I thought it was just going to be ice cream," D'Annibale said.
On his own free time before the New York Yankees hosted the Blue Jays in the Bronx, Cano played Wiffle ball in the street with D'Annibale and the Fan Cave Dwellers.
"I love Robinson Cano and he's one of the best second basemen in the league," D'Annibale said.
Cano and D'Annibale traded swings, with the Yankees star giving a high-five and saying, "Whoa, you're better than me!"
And the kid, who sports a Roger Maris 1961 haircut, did seem to put some good swings on the ball. Watch.
Nick's father, Joe D'Annibale, said the first year of his son's treatment was "really rough," but he's been better lately (Nick has been in school this year), even though there might be two more years of treatment ahead. Whoa, again.
Send some good thoughts Nick's way, won't you? He's still got a long way to go. And the same to Robinson Cano. Visits like these make a big difference in another person's quality of life.