A's invite fan battling coronavirus to throw out first pitch on Opening Day

Jon Becker, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

The A's have no idea when they'll be able to host Opening Day, but whenever that day comes they know who they want there throwing out the first pitch.

A's president Dave Kaval invited one of the team's diehard fans who said he's battling the COVID-19 coronavirus to do the honors.

Justin, a 39-year-old Sacramento man with Type 1 Diabetes, posted a video on Twitter in which he said he tested positive for the virus. His impassioned plea caught the A's attention. Justin asked people to take the coronavirus seriously and follow federal and state guidelines for social distancing and self-quarantine measures.

"I have it. Don't sleep on this thing people," Justin posted on Twitter. "I'm a very healthy type I diabetic. My body is fighting it very well but it's kicking my ass. Don't be a moron. Stay home!"

Kaval, like thousands of others on social media, was touched by Justin's plea and passed along a once-in-a-lifetime offer to the A's fan.

"Get well soon!" Kaval tweeted Tuesday morning. "The whole @Athletics nation is sending your positive thoughts. How is your arm? Would be honored to have you throw out the first pitch opening day!"

Justin, a self-described regular guy who lives with his wife and three sons in Rancho Cordova, was naturally stunned and said he was "blown away" by Kaval's offer.

He said "the outpouring of support has been insane. I swear I can feel it."


While speaking during a Periscope video from his home while still battling the virus' effects, Jason said he went from 50 Twitter followers on Monday to more than 10,000 by late Tuesday morning.

"I got plucked out of obscurity on Twitter. I'm internet famous now and it feels surreal," he said. "This posting has brought a lot of people together who normally wouldn't talk with each together. There's all kinds of different political stripes on this posting. Try to remember we're all in this together."

Major League Baseball said Monday the 2020 season will be pushed back even further -- with a mid-May start an optimistic time frame to begin play -- as it conforms to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guideline of preventing gatherings of more than 50 people for at least the next three weeks.

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