Indians’ home runs grant wish of young fan
An 8-year-old Cleveland Indians fan with cerebral palsy had a
wish straight out of Hollywood: He asked two of his favorite
players to hit home runs.
And Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis sure know how to follow a
Before Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, Niko
Lanzarotta and his family were on the field watching the Indians
take batting practice. The youngster met several players and asked
Santana and Kipnis if they would hit knock one out of the park for
How could they say no?
Santana, who is Niko’s favorite player, hit a two-run homer in
the first. Kipnis added a two-run shot in the third. Niko’s night
was made complete when the Indians defeated the Twins 7-2.
Niko and his family live in suburban Strongsville. Niko was
diagnosed with cerebral palsy at eight months. The Indians, who are
fighting for a playoff spot, may want to give Niko a ticket for the
remainder of the reason. Cleveland has won all six games he’s
Niko came to the game with his parents, Mike and Kasia. It
turned out to be a memorable trip for everyone.
”It was an awesome experience,” Mike Lanzarotta said. ”It was
the best day of his life. To meet Carlos, to be that close, and for
him to hit a home run. … To see your kid that happy is a great
Both players were pleased they were able to grant Niko’s
”They told me I was their favorite player, and I promised to
hit a home run for him,” Santana said.
”He must be a good luck charm for us two,” said Kipnis, who
broke an 0-for-19 slump earlier in the game and homered for the
first time since July 21.
Mike Lanzarotta said his son fell in love with baseball playing
in an area league that’s open to children with disabilities. Niko’s
passion for the game also includes following the Indians.
It’s a familiar baseball story that’s happened from time to time
over the years, and it always brings to mind Babe Ruth in 1926.
That chapter of baseball lore began when a young New Jersey boy
named Johnny Sylvester was kicked in the head by a horse and told
his father, ”I wish I could see Babe Ruth wallop a homer before I
His father managed to get through to Ruth. And the Babe, never
one for understatement, hit not one homer in Game 4 of the World
Series that year against the St. Louis Cardinals, but three.