It’s one of the oldest clichés in baseball lore – a superstar meets an ailing young fan before a game, and the fan implores his hero to hit a home run.
That scenario unfolded at Fenway Park on Friday night, albeit with a unique twist, as Boston Red Sox slugger Mookie Betts met 10-year-old Nico Sapienza through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Sapienza hoped Betts would hit a home run, and the reigning AL MVP delivered much more than that, crushing three homers and a double in a 10-5 victory over the New York Yankees. The home runs came in Betts’ first three at-bats, against New York starter James Paxton.
“I’m glad he came,” Betts said about meeting Sapienza (via MassLive.com). “He was our good-luck charm. He’s a great kid. I think him and his family had fun down in BP (batting practice). I think if I can kind of use the platform that I have to make people smile like that, then I know I’ve done something well.”
Sapienza also met Red Sox manager Alex Cora and several other players before the game.
“He’s a guy that has a great heart,” Cora said about Betts. “For him to walk him around and meet everybody, it was a great day for everybody. I know that Mookie feels good about what happened. I don’t know if he promised anything. But if he did promise one (homer), it was a great night for everybody that was involved.”
Betts now has five three-homer games in his career, one behind the MLB-record of six, shared by Sammy Sosa and Johnny Mize. And Betts’ big night extended the MLB record of four straight days with someone hitting three home runs. Mets second baseman Robinson Cano turned the feat on Tuesday, Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong hit three homers Wednesday and Twins DH Nelson Cruz did it Thursday.