MOOSIC, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – For many, baseball is like a field of dreams. It certainly was Saturday night for a local girl waging a fight against a terrible disease. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, she got her own baseball experience Saturday night before the New York Yankees’ AAA minor-league team took the field.
PNC Field is the home field of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders but on Saturday night it was also home to a lasting memory in the making for Adelaide Kanton. The 11-year-old West Pittston girl and her family got to see what it’s like for an ump to prepare for a baseball game. This behind-the-scenes experience to the umpires locker room was made possible thanks to Umps Care Charities and Casey Cares Foundation.
“We travel all over the country so it’s just 20 minutes out of our day. We love doing it,” said umpire Matt Winter who along with two other umps had Adelaide put on a mask and chest protector. One ump said, “I think we need to take a picture,” as Adelaide and her family laughed.
Laughter is a most welcome sound for Adelaide who was diagnosed with lymphoid leukemia when she was seven.
“There are a lot of kids like Adelaide who spend a lot of time in hospital rooms over the years and a lot of families that have, too. So, an extra perk like this can really boost the spirits,” Adelaide’s mother, Meredith Rynkiewicz said.
“It makes me feel very special because not a lot of kids get to experience this,” said Adelaide who used to play softball before she got sick.
Being around the ballpark provides its own brand of medicine. “I never thought I would be able to have this opportunity to be on the field of the RailRiders and meet the umpires,” Adelaide said.
“We’re nice guys too. You know we’re always getting booed but at least we made an impact in her life,” Mr. Winter said.
It’s an impact this night will have long after the umps call the final out.
“It gives you a lot of hope that as a mom and a family that there are really good times ahead,” said Ms. Rynkiewicz.
Umps Cares Charities began in 2006 in the major leagues but this year marks the first time it’s providing experiences in minor league cities.