Much like the day in 2011 when the Texas Rangers opened the postseason by having the son of fallen firefighter Shannon Stone, who died tragically when he fell from the front row behind the left field wall at Rangers Ballpark, throw out the ceremonial first pitch, there will be a lot of emotion on April 5 when the "first pitcher" takes the field prior to the Rangers' home opener against the rival Los Angeles Angels.
Robbie Parker, a longtime Rangers fan and DFW native, will throw out the first pitch after suffering a tragedy of his own, as his 6-year-old daughter Emilie was murdered in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in December.
Parker took his daughter to many Rangers games in Arlington, Seattle and Boston and still has a brother that lives in Keller.
That brother read a message from Robbie Parker on Jan. 15, on ESPN 103.3 FM after a joint effort from the radio station and several Rangers blogs, including The Newberg Report, Baseball Time in Arlington and Lone Star Ball helped raise thousands of dollars in the area for Emilie's Fund, which was set up to assist families affected by the tragedy in Connecticut.
"I am so proud to be a Ranger fan, because I know that as a fan I actually belong to a community," Robbie Parker said in his statement. "I am glad I was able to share the community with my precious daughter and that the same community has reached out to her and let our family know that she is remembered and loved. Thank you for all you have done to support our family through this time. GO RANGERS!!”
On Friday, MLB tweeted that all teams will honor Sandy Hook victims during Opening Day games with a symbolic patch and a moment of silence. See the patch in the tweet below.
— MLB (@MLB) March 22, 2013
Bring your tissues on April 5. It'll be an emotional day at Rangers Ballpark.