LOS ANGELES -- Braden Yates and Austin Houk were just your average wide-eyed teenage baseball players who got a little giddy inside while watching batting practice, meeting Major Leaguers around the cage and grabbing autographs before Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV on an unforgettable Tuesday
LOS ANGELES -- Braden Yates and Austin Houk were just your average wide-eyed teenage baseball players who got a little giddy inside while watching batting practice, meeting Major Leaguers around the cage and grabbing autographs before Game 1 of the World Series presented by YouTube TV on an unforgettable Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
In fact, they were two of the most important VIPs in the ballpark before the Dodgers took a 1-0 Series lead with a 3-1 win over the Astros.
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"I wish to go to the MLB World Series" is how they recorded it on the submission to their local Make-A-Wish chapters. The two young fans are battling life-altering illnesses, and Major League Baseball helped make their dreams come true as they were welcomed as VIP guests, given special access to Dodgers and Astros, and allowed to hang out with Commissioner Rob Manfred during the opener of the 113th Fall Classic.
"Major League Baseball is pleased to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation and grant the wishes of Braden and Austin to attend Game 1 of the 2017 Fall Classic and make a positive impact on the lives of these young people," said MLB vice president of community affairs Tom Brasuell.
Since 2000, MLB has granted more than 100 wishes to attend the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard and World Series games. It was an example of a big week of community outreach that will be a constant backdrop to these games in L.A. and Houston.
Yates, 18, is a Rangers fan and an outfielder from Garland, Texas. He has played and loved baseball as long as he can remember. He has cystic fibrosis, but life was perfect on this day.
"It's a good feeling. I've been wanting this for a while," Yates said after posing for a picture with Andre Ethier. "Baseball is something I play 24/7, and it means a lot to me."
Houk, 16, is a Rockies fan from Royal Palm Beach, Fla. He has Crohn's Disease, but his only problem at the moment was tracking all of the baseballs flying out during BP. He is a pitcher on his high school team, and he was hoping for a signed game ball or jersey by the winning pitcher at Game 1.
"It's just uplifting, life changing," he said of the granted wish. Asked what his highlight was so far, Houk added: "Just watching the balls fly out of the park from a different point of view."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.