First Homers, Then Hugs
Back in April, Matt Herndon, a young and devoted Royals fan, underwent brain surgery in Dallas. The day before he went under, the 11-year-old Overland Park boy received a pretty unique phone call from a couple of guys in the visiting clubhouse at the Metrodome in Minneapolis: Royals captain Mike Sweeney and outfielder David DeJesus.
Sweeney had heard about Matt’s story and told DeJesus about the young Royals fan prior to the team taking the field against that Twins that evening. They called up Matt’s hospital room in Texas and chatted with him for awhile, both sending wishes, asking Matt questions and talking baseball with him. Then, Matt decided to turn the tables and ask a question of Mike. Here’s what Mike told the KC Star’s Bob Dutton following that April 25 game:
“I asked him how he was doing,” Sweeney said, “and he told me I was his favorite player … He asked me if I could hit a homer for him. I said I’d try, and I promised we’d all pray for him.”
Well, if you saw the game or the box score from that game, you probably noticed that Sweeney not only tried to hit a home run for Matt, but he didn’t waste any time fulfilling the request. He belted a homer in his first at-bat in the first inning of the Royals 4-3 win…with DeJesus, who didn’t make any homer promises either but still later hit his own homer in the fifth, standing on third base. Really, could it get any better than that?
Well, for Matt and his family, it came pretty close today – Aug. 7 – when Sweeney invited the whole Herndon family out to Kauffman Stadium as his special guests. Along with his parents and sisters, Emily and Katie, Matt took in some batting practice before the Royals game against the Twins on Tuesday, met a few Royals players and coaches and, this time, got face-to-face greetings and hugs from Sweeney and DeJesus. Just more than three months since his surgery, Matt is almost fully recovered, playing summer ball, getting ready for school to start (next week – yikes!) and gearing up for his fall league baseball to begin.
Although all of us here with the Royals family couldn’t hit home runs for Matt, we were happy to see him up and smiling at the stadium today. And, we will continue to keep him and his family in our thoughts throughout the rest of his recovery. Thanks for joining us at The K, Herndon family!
And, since we’re talking about multi-homer games for the Royals…the team’s had 12 multi-homer games in 2007 including a four-homer game in Cleveland on May 23 where Sweeney joined Grudzielanek, Gordon and Buck for the homer-happy party that lead to an 11-7 Royals win!
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