Heart-melting video shows Blue Jays fan making 9-year-old Yankees fan’s dream come true

A baseball moment caught on video has gone viral for all the right reasons.

Video of what happened in the stands during a Yankees and Blue Jays game tugged on heartstrings and brought many viewers to tears as Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta made a dream come true for 9-year-old Derek Rodriguez.

The young Yankees fan at the team’s series finale against the Blue Jays is also a huge fan of Aaron Judge and was hoping to snag a ball at the game. When the Yankees’ right fielder hit a home run, it triggered the chain of events seen in videos of the now-viral moment.

“In a moment of true poetry, it landed — you guessed it — right where Lanzillotta was sitting,” The Athletic reported. “Lanzillotta knew what he had to do with the ball. He had made the kid a promise.”

“When it came to me, and I picked it up, and I was just like, ‘Wow, like, I got to give it to this kid,’” Lanzillotta told The Athletic. “It’s his player, his T-shirt.”

Their difference in team loyalties melted away in the big-hearted moment.

“I’m really excited,” Derek said later. “My dream is to meet Aaron Judge, and well, I’m really happy that I got the ball from his home run.”

“I said ‘thank you’ and hugged him a lot,” the fourth-grader said of Lanzillotta handing him the baseball. “And I said ‘thank you’ a lot.”

“I’m so happy for him because he loves Aaron Judge,” the boy’s father, Cesar Rodriguez said.

“I almost started crying,” Lanzillotta admitted. “For real, I almost started crying.”

According to The Athletic:

After the moment was caught on live television, Lanzillotta’s phone blew up with text messages and phone calls. He was sent a few pictures, too, and he shared them with Cesar, who called Lanzillotta a friend for life. A Rogers Centre staff member also delivered a special Blue Jays gift package to Lanzillotta in recognition of his sportsmanship. He was blown away by that gesture and by the overwhelming response to his small act of kindness, one that clearly had a huge impact on the young fan.

 

And if the story wasn’t heart-melting enough, the Rodriguez family and Lanzillotta were invited back to the Rogers Centre to watch Yankees batting practice, and then the young fan got to meet Judge.

“He of course brought the home-run baseball with him, which Judge signed for him. Meanwhile, George Springer gifted a signed jersey of his own for Lanzillotta,” The Athletic reported.

“I asked him who his favourite player was and he just turned around and showed me his little jersey. That still gives me goosebumps to this day to see little kids wearing my number, wearing my jersey,” Judge told the outlet. “That’s something I dreamed of. I used to be in his position, that little kid rooting on my favourite players and team, so that was a pretty cool moment that I definitely won’t forget.”

“Yankee fans are all around the world, they’re passionate about this game,” Judge said. “To have a little one like that, man, he’s starting out the right way.”

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