Saturday April 13th will surely go down as the greatest day in Bulldog's History because we as a program achieved our GREATEST Victory of all time. WE will NEVER win a bigger game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Words cannot really express or summarize what occurred on the field today and the parents, players and coaches who were present understand fully what I mean when I make this statement.
For the entirety of Bulldog Nation, I feel it is both a duty and honor to share with you what occurred earlier today.... Your caring and generosity went a long way....
After losing his son Chris to a rare heart condition just a few short weeks ago, Dave Barnacle (Chris' Dad) came to the Lakeville field today to pick up what he thought was going to be six tickets to a future Red Sox game, coutesy of the Boston Red Sox Organization. Dave had no idea that Bulldog Nation planned a host of pre-game festivities in his families' honor.
As Dave approached the field today, he was walking alongside two other young men, one boy named Derek Heaton and the other was Chris Rotondo. These two boys were Chris' best friends who wanted to come to the game because they knew some team was planning to pay tribute to their good friend Chris MacIver who passed away a few short weeks ago. As the boys approached the batting cages where the Bulldog boys were hitting, the Bulldog coaches instantly were drawn to the two boys and immediately went to introduce themselves. As soon as the handshakes were done, Coach McCarthy instructed the two men to go put on gloves to warm up with the team and he began playing catch with the fine young men off to the side of the batting cage. Coach McCarthy, Derek and Chris hit it off like they had known each other for years, it was surely a sight to see. We don't think we ever saw a bigger smile on Coach McCarthy's face (Prior to today, no one knew he could smile at all-LOL). As Coach Sawtelle and GM Giurleo were throwing batting practice to the Bulldog boys in the cages, we couldn't help but watch in awe the connection Coach McCarthy was making with these two young men, mesmerizing to say the least.
After doing some warming up, Derek and Chris were called into the cage to do some hitting where Coach Giurleo had the honor and privilege of pitching batting practice to these two young men. As Coach G was throwing, Coach McCarthy was providing instruction to these two young men from behind the cage and it was clear these two boys were listening to the instruction because both managed to hit multiple HOME RUNS during their cage work. By the smiles on their faces it was clear Derek and Chris were having a wonferful day at the ballpark.
Dave told the Bulldog faithful that he will be taking Derek and Chris to the game along with two other of Chris' closest friends to honor his memory, these were his best friends and the ones who meant the most to Chris. Just as Dave finished his statement, two other boys named Aiden George and Josh Harris began walking to the field to join in the festivities. They too were very special and they greeted us with the most polite handshake we have ever received on a baseball diamond. At that very moment, it was clear, in just a few short moments, the Bulldogs had an opportunity to touch the lives of some very special people who really needed it. Something amazing was in the works and as the parents, coaches and players gathered in a circle by the family, they all could feel it.
Dave told the coaches that each of these young men (Aiden, Josh, Derek and Chris) had special games scheduled today but they each chose to miss those games because they felt it was important that they be there to honor their friend Chris who they loved so much. Hearing this was enough to make a grown man cry, so let's move on......
The 12 boys who make up the current Bay State Bulldogs Team each had assignments,
Upon the GM's cue, the boys would present Dave with his honorary tributes to Chris, here's how it went down:
Jimmy/Ryan-Presented Dave with an Authentic Bulldogs Cap and a new baseball in which Dave would throw out for the first pitch
Sam/Paul/Jake-Presented Dave with over $700 in shopping gift cards donated by Bulldog Parents as a means to help the family overcome some very difficult financial times
Caleb/Tyler-Red Sox Year Book signed by all Bulldog Players and Coaches
Evan/Bobby/Shawn-Engraved Picture Frame of Fenway Park with an inscription of Bay State Bulldogs & the Boston Red Sox honor Chris MacIver April 20th 2013 (Thanks to the Fan Cave for their Generous Donation)
As Evan, Bobby and Shawn handed Dave the photo, the tears began streaming down Dave's face, he seemed to realize all these strange people standing around who call themselves "the Bulldogs" were really just Angels in disguise. Complete Strangers who prior to today had never met Dave nor Chris but felt compelled for some reason to lend a helping hand.
Danny & Nick presented the final gift of $450 in spending cash for Dave and he made clear that every dime would be spent at Fenway Park on April 20th for Chris' best friends, Aiden, Derek, Josh and his best friend of all Chris (who used to call him everyday). Special thanks to Coastal Dealerships for their donation of a comprehensive Car Detailing package to allow for this gift. Dave and the gang will be honored next Saturday by the Red Sox Organization where they will get a tour of the ball park, tickets to the game, a tour of the radio booth to meet Joe C and Dave O'Brien. They'll also get the opportunity to see Chris name "In loving Memory" displayed on the Big JumboTron at Fenway park for the world to see. (Thanks to Mark G)
Both teams celebrated a moment of silence before today's game in Chris' honor. A big hats off to the Lakeville Cardinals for sharing in the pre-game ceremony with us. Dave then threw out the first pitch to catcher Ryan Sawtelle and it was time to play ball.
Dave, Lisa, Aiden, Derek, Josh, and of course Chris cheered on the Bulldogs for the entire game and are now honorary Bulldogs for life!!!!
After the 4th inning, I walked over to Dave to see if he was enjoying the game. It was clear Dave was very happy and making new friends with the Bulldogs faithful as each inning passed. Dave looked at me and said "you guys are amazing". I simply smiled and directed his attention over to the stands where Chris' Nurse, Heather DeMeo was mixed in with a number of other Bulldog Parents. I simply stated "That's your angel over there, she's responsible for this". Dave looked at Heather, Heather looked at Dave and they smiled at each other, Heather not hearing any of that conversation. "She was so good to Chris you know, she hugged him all the time" said a somber Dave.
Dave wanted me to promise to thank all of you for doing what you did for his family and Chris' friends today. He promised to send Bulldog Nation pictures of next Saturday's game for the website. Each of them will be sporting their Bulldogs caps as they venture to the game next week.
You managed to touch and change someone's life for the better. Someone you never met before!!!! Quoting Bulldog Catcher Ryan Sawtelle "Today was Awesome"!!!! I couldn't agree more Ryan.
Whether you made a donation or simply read about Chris Maciver's story, if you are on this distribution list, it is because you are FOREVER BULLDOGS!!
If you thought Paul Kittredge was the quinessential leader on the baseball field, just listen to this. Paul has made Honor Roll again!! Yes, again!! He consistently gets excellent grades in school and he is now taking a Collage Prep Class, which just so happens to be French. Paul's leadership abilities have been noticed by his school teachers as he has been selected to be a Guidance leader. His responsibilities include helping both new and existing students in school in a number of different capcities. For example, Paul may mentor new students by showing them the ropes at their new school. This includes showing them where there classes are and what to expect on a day to day basis. For existing students, Paul helps them out with what ever problem they have or or having, whether it's help with academics or simply providing an ear to listen to or just simply being a friend, Paul is there to assist. With thesen natural leadership qualities it is no surprise that his teachers, guidance, and the principal of the school asked Paul to represent the middle school on the Student School Council. Paul attends meetings once a month and has started working with the School Council on many different activies to help the student body. In addition to his academic activities Paul finds time to stay active. The big man just finished playing Golf for the High School's Junior Varsity team and is now planning to play hoops for the Carver High School freshman basketball team. GM Giurleo on Paul's efforts "Quality + Caring + Good Grades + Class + Leadership = Paul Kittredge, we are so very proud of Paul in Bulldog Nation. This little boy who started playing for us at the ripe old age of 9, has become a fine young gentleman who makes his community, his parents and Bulldog Nation very Proud". Well done Mr. Kittredge, You are an exaple to all Ball Players!!!