Home Run Wish with the Cardinals

St. LOUIS, Mo. (June 2019): “I loved watching batting practice and having players talk to me,” said Blake Strine, talking about his dream coming true with Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life-threatening illnesses. They took him out to the ballgame to see the St. Louis Cardinals play… and throw out the honorary first pitch!

On game day, Blake and his family arrived at Busch Stadium. They were first invited onto the field to watch the Cardinals batting practice from behind the netting. Players Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong, Marcell Ozuna and Kolten Wong came over to meet Blake, sign his bat and take photos. Meeting and spending time with Wong was especially meaningful for him – he also plays second base. After practice, Wong took off his batting gloves, signed them, and kindly gifted them to Blake. The team’s professional photographer was also there to capture his once-in-a-lifetime moments.

St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt greeted him, signed his bat and surprised him with an exclusive experience… Blake went to the dugout, was escorted to the locker room where he met all the players, and sat in on their team meeting. He learned the pitch signs for the night’s game, and by the end of his amazing pre-game experience, had his bat signed by 15 players.

When it was time to play ball, all eyes were on Blake as he threw out the celebratory first pitch to Cardinals pitcher Tyler Webb. Webb also signed the momentous baseball as a memento. Afterward, his family enjoyed time together watching the game.

Blake has faced many struggles with ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. His wish gave him something special to look forward to when he needed it most. “My favorite part was seeing the smile on his face and enjoying every minute of today,” said his mom Melissa. “It gave him light when he was in a really dark place. It’s helped his outlook on everything.”

“Thank you to the St. Louis Cardinals for joining us in making Blake’s wish come true,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai.

His family also enjoyed accommodations at the Residence Inn St. Louis Downtown.

Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children with life-threatening conditions and struggling with life-altering situations. KWN provides for trip expenses, meals, accommodations and additional spending monies to all wish families whenever traveling as applicable. Visit www.kidswishnetwork.org to learn about our different programs, and refer a child now.

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