Romero pitching with a heavy heart
On April 2, a young fan named Ryley Martin came out to pre-game batting practice vs. the Twins with his family to the Rogers Centre at the invitation of the Blue Jays. The two-year-old had recently been sent home from the Hospital for Sick Kids diagnosed with an untreatable form of leukemia. His mom and dad and two siblings were with him as he happily watched the Jays go through their pre-game hitting.
Two players, Ricky Romero and J.P. Arencibia, took a special interest in the young family, eventually finding their way to the cordoned off warning track and engaging the youngster in conversation. At home, Ryley always enjoyed tossing a baseball around with his dad and had the thrill of doing the same thing with two major-leaguers that April day.
Ryley Martin passed away in hospital on Thursday. Romero, Thursday night's Jays pitcher against the Rays, sent out a tweet from the clubhouse as he girded himself for battle.
"Enjoy life to the fullest and never take it for granted...Having the pleasure to play with him is something I will always carry with me. RJM"
Prior to the game, Romero planned to write Ryley's initials into the dirt on the back of the Rogers Centre mound, while Arencibia was inscribing the initials onto his batting gloves.
There's always something to remind you that baseball is just a game and its players are just ordinary people finding their way in the journey of life. Ryley would have turned three at the end of July.