The San Francisco Chronicle has a gutpunch of a piece, telling the story of one little boy looking forward to the best birthday ever: a day at the ballpark to watch his favorite player, Melky Cabrera.
(I can guess how this story came to be. Al Saracevic, the Chronicle's sports editor, went to the stadium specifically to look for cute kids in Melky jerseys who hadn't heard the news yet. I was at the Post on the day the Mitchell Report was released, and my assigment was to hang out at the Mets' and Yankees' stores and ask young children how disappointed they were in their role models. It's just good business.)
Wednesday was Hayden Beard's 10th birthday. And it was shaping up to be a classic.
His father had taken the day off work so they could go to the game between the Nationals and the Giants. Stephen Strasburg was pitching against Tim Lincecum. And Hayden couldn't wait to see his favorite player, Melky Cabrera.
Hayden had invited his grade-school pal, Devin Guinee, to come with him. The two San Ramon kids went all out for the day, donning their Cabrera shirts and white Melkman caps. They penciled the number "53" on their backs. They even used a grease pencil to write the words "Melk" and "Man" on each other's stomachs.
It goes on like this. The lesson here for parents is, obviously, don't let your kids have heroes.