Phillies' Carlos Santana Went Yard After Promising A Young Leukemia Patient In Attendance That He Would
Philly- Anthony Garcia, wearing the custom jersey that Gabe Kapler presented him a few minutes earlier, waited Saturday afternoon just outside the Phillies dugout hoping to meet Carlos Santana.
The 13-year-old baseball fanatic from Harrisburg said he favored Santana for his humble attitude. Kapler made sure Garcia’s custom-jersey with “Anthony” arched across the back also had Santana’s No. 41. It had been five months since Garcia’s leukemia was diagnosed, causing the teenager to miss his baseball season.
And then came Santana, who walked over from the batting cage to present Garcia with a bat and ball and pose for pictures. That would be enough for Garcia, who arrived at Citizens Bank Park after Go4TheGoal, a childhood cancer foundation based in Cherry Hill, reached out to Kapler. But Santana had something else.
“I promise to get a home run for you today,” Santana said.
Santana said he doesn’t often promise home runs, but he “was feeling something.” Santana returned to batting practice and Garcia and his family found their seats behind home plate, in Section 121.
Then Santana delivered. He homered in the fifth inning of the 8-3 win over the Marlins. He watched the ball land in the second deck of right field and thought back to his promise.
“I remembered, and I said, ‘Thank you, God,’ for letting me do that,” Santana said. “Everything I do, I do from my heart.”
The home run was the third the Phillies would hit as they routed the Marlins. Garcia had a perfect night. And Santana’s fulfilled promise was a moment to cherish.
“We got chills,” said his mother, Yisel Ramos-Marucci . “He almost cried. He had always dreamt about this day and it finally happened.”
This is quite obviously a great story of both the unseen hand that lends its help in clutch situations that are bigger than the game during which they take place far too often for its presence to be ignored, as well as the healing power (as temporary as it may be) of sports. I don't think there's a person on the planet that could read about a professional athlete delivering on the promise of a home run to the leukemia patient in attendance and be left with anything other than an ear-to-ear grin. Carlos Santana's premature dedication of a dinger that had yet to have been hit remmmminds me of a Westside Story in that it's a tale that has been told before, but still never fails in tugging on the heartstrings. Simply put, those chills were warranted, as I'm pretty sure I felt them through my computer screen as I read about the most uplifting of script coming to life.
That being said, scripts belong in movies, sports movies are typically insanely unrealistic, and sequels tend to massively underwhelm, so let's just be glad that all the counted chickens came to hatch and stop promising sick children things that are only mildly within our control. Anthony Garcia is probably old enough to know that a multitude of circumstances prevented his favorite player from fully guaranteeing a home run. However, as a general rule of thumb, I think it's best that we only make commitments to our suffering youth in which the math at least slightly favors our ability to uphold it. Maybe I'm just old fashioned in that way.
I couldn't be happier that it worked out to absolute, heart-warming perfection this time around, but all it takes is a rudimentary understanding of statistics to come to the conclusion that next time around that "feeling" is even more likely to belong to someone who ultimately ends up wishing they just offered an autograph, a photo-op, and a clubhouse visit. Even if they too are playing the lowly Marlins.