As thousands of Californians take stock of the damage caused by wildfires, one boy’s story has at least half of the teams in Major League Baseball rallying behind him.
In a letter to the Oakland Athletics, posted on Twitter by Katie Utehs, an ABC 7 News Bay Area journalist, 9-year-old Loren Jade Smith writes about his love of the team and the loss of his beloved baseball collection in the fire.
— Katie Utehs (@KatieUtehs) October 15, 2017
“[M]y house burned down in Santa Rosa and my saddest things was my baseball collection cards, my 17 jerseys and 10 hats and my baseball from the game and also a ball signed by the whole team and Ricky [Henderson] and Bob Melvin,” Smith wrote. “I had a major league baseball and it all burned up. So sad. I know you are not all together but hope they get this.”
— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) October 16, 2017
A’s President Dave Kaval quickly posted on Twitter: “This is so touching. So sad to hear about their loss. We would be happy to completely outfit the family in new @Athletics gear.”
The responses snowballed. The A’s tweeted out an address that people could use to send baseball memorabilia to the young fan.
If you'd like to donate baseball memorabilia to our pal Loren, please send items to the address below and we’ll make sure they get to him. pic.twitter.com/xI3ZwWWfNA
— A's, But Spooky 🌳🐘🎃 (@Athletics) October 16, 2017
And one after another, major league teams responded, along with minor league teams and other individuals who wanted to help.
“Hey Loren, we got a package with your name on it on the way!” wrote the Tampa Bay Rays. “We’ve got a Padres pack on its way for Loren — including an autographed Mark McGwire baseball,” the San Diego Padres said.
The collective responses appear to have the makings of a world-class memorabilia collection for the fire survivor.
Prior to the outpouring of support, Loren’s dad, Tait Smith, told ABC 7 that it “breaks my heart just that he is not going to be back here screaming and yelling home runs that he hit over the fence with the whiffle ball to the neighbors.” The news piece shows the father and son throwing and batting in the backyard of their burned home.
The A’s say they are working with other Bay Area teams on disaster relief efforts, committing a total of $450,000.
Here are the MLB responses to the A’s callout:
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) October 16, 2017
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) October 17, 2017
We’ve got a Padres pack on its way for Loren—including an autographed Mark McGwire baseball 🤗 pic.twitter.com/IWXQ8VDUUb
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) October 16, 2017
Happy to pitch in…We're sending something you're way, Loren!
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 16, 2017
📬 Just dropped all of this in the mail for you, Loren! 👍 pic.twitter.com/fKmcZf6voC
— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 16, 2017
Items from us are on their way for Loren! 💙
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) October 16, 2017
You can let Loren know he’s got a package coming from the Astros!
— Houston Astros (@astros) October 16, 2017
— Mariners (@Mariners) October 16, 2017
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 16, 2017
Loren, we're sending a package your way very soon. Glad you're safe!
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) October 17, 2017
Baseball is family. We have your back, Loren. The package is on its way! pic.twitter.com/vALO3tiBlM
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) October 16, 2017
Hopefully there's room on the truck for this stuff for Loren! Give him and his family our best. pic.twitter.com/wmdtOOh02t
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) October 17, 2017
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) October 17, 2017
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) October 17, 2017