Caden Shapiro is living the dream
Kids across the country dream about being in the Major Leagues, playing baseball with the pros, running around a big league diamond and hanging out in the clubhouse.
For 10-year-old Caden Shapiro, that dream came true a lot sooner than expected.
Caden, the son of Indians president Mark Shapiro, has been around the clubhouse atmosphere for about seven years.
"I've been in Spring Training since Winter Haven when I was really young, like 3 or 4," said Caden, referring to the Indians' spring home before they moved to Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz., in 2009.
Caden is in the desert this week on spring break, enjoying both the sun and America's pastime.
Hanging out in the clubhouse is just one perk to being the president's son. He served as a batboy for the Indians this week and will get to do so again in Cleveland during the regular season. What 10-year-old boy wouldn't dream of that?
Some of Caden's favorite players in the Indians clubhouse include Jason Giambi, Mike Aviles and Nick Swisher, who has a unique appreciation for Caden's presence in the locker room and tries hard to show him what it feels like to be a part of a team.
"I was that little kid growing up in the locker room," said Swisher, whose father, Steve, played for three Major League teams and managed in the Minors for 11 years. "Every time a little kid comes in the locker room I always try to go out of my way to say hello."
There are other perks, too. Caden enjoys being able to share gear and memories with his friends back at school.
"It's awesome," he said. "I bring them phitens, and they're like, 'Oh, can you get me a red one?' or, 'Can you get me Carlos' autograph?'"
Yes, Caden Shapiro is living the dream.
-- Chelsea Bolyard / Contributor to MLB.com
This post is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.