Meet Josiah Viera, a 10-year-old baseball fan who was 'called up' to the Big Leagues on Thursday
Josiah Viera resides in Hegins, PA and is a regular visitor to Medlar Field, home of the Cardinals' Short-Season A affiliate State College Spikes.
Viera is an honorary member of the Spikes. He attends about half the home games, has a locker in the clubhouse and is adored wherever he goes. He even traveled with the team recently when it clinched the league championship.
On Thursday, Viera elevated his game -- by a lot. Skipping the next three levels of the minors, he went straight to St. Louis, where he was given the big league treatment at Busch Stadium.
Viera has a rare, fatal disease called Progeria, which accelerates aging in children. Each year of life equates to about 10 years of aging, making the life expectancy of a child with this disease anywhere from eight to 13 years, typically.
Regardless, Viera is very much like the other kids his age in one major area: he loves baseball. Check that -- he reeeeeeeeeeeally loves baseball. It's all he's talked about since he could talk, and when he's at the Spikes' ballpark, there's no place he'd rather be.
Well, that is, until Thursday. The Cardinals hosted Viera and his family, who were given a hearty Cardinals' welcome by several players and staff. Viera had a nice exchange with slugger Matt Holliday before batting practice in the Cards' dugout, where the two exchanged handshakes and hugs. Viera walking away with an autograph, a picture and -- best of all -- a bat.