ATLANTA -- Manny Machado remembers the sizzling and steamy summers in Miami -- "his first home" as he has previously described the vibrant city. Growing up watching the Marlins, one of baseball's hottest commodities also remembers the impact a big league player can make in the life of a young
ATLANTA -- Manny Machado remembers the sizzling and steamy summers in Miami -- "his first home" as he has previously described the vibrant city. Growing up watching the Marlins, one of baseball's hottest commodities also remembers the impact a big league player can make in the life of a young kid in a big city.
"I came up wishing I had that opportunity for a big leaguer or someone I admired from the Marlins to do [something] for me," Machado said. "I always told myself whenever I got the opportunity to be an impactful person, I'm going to do anything possible to try to help a kid, or anybody out."
Machado got his chance to do just that this past week when he was scrolling through social media and saw a video of a young fan in Atlanta.
JJ Roddenberry greatly admires Machado, so much so that when his parents gifted him with a ticket to Sunday's finale against the Braves for his 14th birthday, the young fan from Atlanta broke down as joy-filled tears streamed down his face.
Roddenberry's reaction to being gifted with the ticket to see his favorite slugger live stirred up emotions within Machado.
"Just watching that [reaction], it gave me goosebumps," Machado said. "I mean, the kid cried just for a ticket to go to the baseball game."
After seeing the video, Machado immediately reached out to the Orioles' PR director, Kristin Hudak, to begin the process of getting in touch with Roddenberry to set up another surprise for the 14-year-old.
A few days after Roddenberry received the tickets from his parents, he was sent a surprise video from none other than Machado himself. The O's shortstop invited the young fan to hang out with him during batting practice before Sunday's game.
Again, Roddenberry was overcome with emotions.
However, when Sunday arrived, batting practice wasn't scheduled for either club at SunTrust Park -- but that didn't stop Machado from seeking out Roddenberry, who was able to have some one-on-one time with Machado during a meet-and-greet in the Orioles' dugout before the game.
"We try to go above and beyond to satisfy people," Machado said. "It's the least we can do, you know, in the position we are in. To give a chance to the people that admire you and look up to you, it's the least we can do [to] show them how much we appreciate it."
Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.