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Young fan earns his stripes while meeting Yanks

Inspiring visit for auction winner: 'I want this to be me someday'
@BryanHoch
August 14, 2019

NEW YORK -- Digging into a backpack to produce four handwritten pages of questions for his favorite players, it was clear that 13-year-old Will Gawronski was taking his opportunity to wear a media pass seriously, going behind the scenes with the Yankees for a day. Accompanied by his father, Joe,

NEW YORK -- Digging into a backpack to produce four handwritten pages of questions for his favorite players, it was clear that 13-year-old Will Gawronski was taking his opportunity to wear a media pass seriously, going behind the scenes with the Yankees for a day.

Accompanied by his father, Joe, the New Jersey native scanned the playing field at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday afternoon and allowed himself to dream big. Today, he was asking the questions. Maybe someday, the aspiring third baseman and pitcher will be the one answering them.

"It was so exciting, because this is where I want to play one day," Gawronski said. "I hope this is my future."

The Gawronskis were on the field prior to Tuesday's game against the Orioles as winners of an auction that benefited the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City.

When James Paxton emerged from the clubhouse to play catch, Will was armed with a question, asking how the hurler was adjusting to life in a new city. The transition from Seattle to New York has been a good one, Paxton replied.

Zack Britton, Chad Green, Tommy Kahnle and Gleyber Torres were among the other players who stopped to chat with the young fan.

"It was awesome," said Joe Gawronski. "It's great to be on the field, enjoy the sights and sounds. Even though the Yankees weren't taking BP today, a lot of the players came out; a lot of the bullpen and Gleyber, who's been so hot against the Orioles. It was just fun to say hi to him. We loved it."

The Gawronskis sat in on manager Aaron Boone's news conference, then toured the press box and the broadcast booths, greeting YES Network broadcasters Paul O'Neill, Ryan Ruocco and Meredith Marakovits along the way.

"I think it's cool that reporters get to talk to players and get to be at all the games," Will said.

And when they unexpectedly encountered Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre, their planning and preparation paid off, as Will produced a 1998 World Series baseball for a signature.

Torre did the young fan one better, removing his diamond-encrusted Yankees World Series ring, which Will gleefully slipped on. That, he said, exceeded even his wildest expectations for the day.

"I thought, 'I want this to be me someday,'" Will said. "I want to have one of those eventually."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.