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Three acts of kindness displayed on baseball fields and captured in viral videos

Published: Thursday, May 9 2013 2:55 p.m. MDT

AJ Moncman gave Phillies player Ryan Howard a wristband to wear prior to the game.

mlb.com

The baseball spirit goes beyond singing for the seventh inning stretch, balancing a hot dog, peanuts and a drink, and caring if the home team wins the game. These clips from baseball games display acts of kindness and selflessness seen in baseball stadiums.

Matt Kemp

The San Francisco Giants swept the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, May 5, but when Dodger Matt Kemp approached a terminally ill fan after the game, baseball was no longer on the forefront of his mind. Joshua Jones, 19, has battled cancer for the past three years, and recently decided to stop chemotherapy treatments that no longer helped him. He has inoperable tumors on his spine, and has been given 90 days to live.

During the game, Joshua’s father asked third base coach Tim Wallach if Matt Kemp would come over and greet his son on the front row after the game. Kemp signed a baseball for Joshua and followed that by giving the cap off his head, the jersey off his back, and the shoes off his feet. “I didn't plan on taking the jersey off, but it's something I felt would probably cheer him up a little bit … and that was my first time taking my shoes off in front of the fans,” Kemp said. “But life is so much bigger than baseball.”

Ryan Howard

Before the victorious 4-1 game against the Miami Marlins on May 3, a blind 7-year-old named AJ Moncman shared a few words with Phillies player Ryan Howard. AJ gave Howard a wristband to wear that represents the leber congenital amarosis (LCA) cause, which is dedicated to fighting blindness through research, and said, “I want you to hit a home run tonight just for this.” At the bottom of the second inning, Howard delivered. He hit a homer deep into the right field, to which AJ said, “oh my gosh, that’s probably for me.”

A hero off the field

Kindness and a sense of giving do not only apply to the players themselves. At an Arizona Diamondbacks game against the Milwaukee Brewers in July 2011, two young boys — one rooting for each team — reached out their arms to get a baseball one of the players tossed into the stands. The Diamondbacks fan got the ball, much to the disappointment of the other boy. Upon seeing the upset, the Diamondbacks fan, Ian McMillan, walked to the other boy and gave him the ball.

Abby Stevens is an intern for the Deseret News Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact her at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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