Dear Hunter Pence,
I don’t know you. I like the Giants but I couldn’t tell anyone what your batting average is. You have a fantastic beard and wear old school socks and pants. I’ve see clips where you make impossible catches in right field. And there have been a few interviews you’ve granted that make me laugh.
(I’m sorry, but I blanked and forgot to grab the photo credit here…)
But on Friday night, you captivated me. There were no cameras. You were two stories below me and had no idea that my daughter and I were clapping as you jogged onto the outfield to warm up.
This wasn’t my first Giants game. I’ve had the pleasure of sitting all around the park, from bleacher seats to handicapped seats when my husband insisted on coming to a game after foot surgery. He’s the one who taught me to rock Giants orange.
As you passed in front of the bleachers, you acknowledged the cheering and waving fans.
You’re the exception. Every once in a while, someone might throw a ball to the fans. But you? You waved back the whole way out.
It was better than your crazy batting stance.
(photo credit: whatproswear.com)
Just before the game started, children with cancer took the field following a big screen presentation about Buster’s amazing charity work. You joined your little fan. And after signing the ball, you turned that kiddo to the fans. And they cheered.
My kids are healthy. By the grace of God, they bounce back from split knees and broken bones. But my mommy-heart filled the moment you kept your arm draped around your shadow until all the clapping died down. The other children ran off while warm-ups started and you prompted more waving, then waited until it stopped.
I know you’ve come back from injuries (foul ball hit to the face, “Nah…it’s good”). It’s obvious you love the game.
But I hope you know you’re more. You’re a champion of the fans, hero to not only that tiny human who is fighting cancer, but to everyone who saw you take the time to stop and be gracious and compassionate.
Thank you, Hunter.