Everyone knows that 17-year-old Sam wants to play major league baseball someday, but what doesn’t get talked about much is all that he’s endured to get there. Born with cystic fibrosis, he has spent thousands of hours of his life battling a disease – but he’s not letting it slow down. Sam has also spent thousands of hours running drills with the hopes of making his wish a reality.
The aspiring athlete often looks to pros to help keep him going. One of those is Nolan Arenado, a third baseman for the Colorado Rockies. It is one thing to look up to someone, but it’s another to actually get to meet your hero. ESPN and Nolan surprised Sam and let him know he’d be flying out to Colorado to meet Nolan and become a Colorado Rockies player for the day.
Wearing Rockies jersey No. 11, Sam hit with Ryan McMahon, pow-wowed with manager Bud Black and hung out with his fielding partner, Nolan. The highlight of his wish was when his left-handed swing nearly sent a ball over the right-field wall. Now college, and hopefully college baseball, seem closer and more possible than ever before for Sam, thanks to his life-changing wish.
“This was amazing – something I would have never dreamed would have been able to happen,” Sam said. “To be able to see what I have been able to accomplish through all this. It’s pretty much a miracle.”
Sam’s wish was granted by Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire and Make-A-Wish Colorado.