Patriots Baseball Team Makes 7-Year-Old's Day - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/25/06-Tyler

Patriots Baseball Team Makes 7-Year-Old's Day

If Joey could, he would tell you how much he loves the game of baseball. But, a rare metabolic disorder doesn't allow the 7-year-old any control over his motor functions.  UT-Tyler assistant baseball coach Kyle Welsh, himself in a wheel chair after breaking his back in a car accident in 2000, saw Joey's story on KLTV 7's Gift of Love segment.

"And immediately I called [UT-Tyler Head Baseball] coach [James Vilade] and I just knew that I had to do it," explained Welsh.

What he had to do was make sure Joey got to participate in Kyle's "Cards for Kids" program, in which he, and the rest of the UT-Tyler baseball team, give kids baseball cards. That idea, though, quickly evolved into something much bigger.

"He got his first baseball glove," Vilade said.  "He got a Nolan Ryan baseball card, got an [Nolan Ryan] autographed baseball, and a trip to see the Frisco Rough Riders, thanks to [Roughriders coach] Ronnie Ortegon.  We've also named him an honorary team member for 2007, so he's a part of the Patriots now."  

That means, if the Patriots earn a conference championship ring, Joey gets one too. 

"It kind of makes me appreciate what I have," said Welsh, "even though I'm in a chair. It makes me feel pretty good when something like that happens."

"Joey understands what you say to him," said foster mom Evelyn Moore.  "He just can't verbalize it back to you. He realizes I think that all of this is for him, and all these strange people came to see just him. This is a gift of the heart, and I want to thank everybody that was here."

"I think that getting up and caring everday and showing a little love to somebody else, and making somebody a part of your world, especially sports is great," explained Vilade.  "All you have to do is see the smile on Joey's face to realize that it was pretty special for him today."

Kevin Berns reporting.
kberns@kltv.com

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