For those of us that grew up playing or even just watching the sport of baseball, one of the best things about your childhood is collecting all of the sport’s memorabilia that you can. From trading cards and hats to pennants and game-used balls, a youngster can amass quite a collection in a short amount of time. One of those children was Loren Jade Smith, a fan of the MLB’s Oakland Athletics.
Smith was one of the many that suffered from wildfires in Northern California, and though the entire house burned down, it was his baseball collection that Smith missed the most. Devastated by his loss, Smith sent a letter to his favorite baseball team, hoping that they could help him recover some of the lost team merchandise.
In his letter, Smith said “ I love watching your A’s games. I want to be an A’s player and I play at Mark West Little League in Santa Rosa. I played baseball in my backyard all day loving the A’s and making up my own game. In my backyard they won six World Series in a row. But my house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire and my saddest things was my baseball collection cards, my 17 jerseys and 10 hats and my baseball from the game and also a ball signed by the whole team and Rickey Henderson and Bob Melvin. My brother and me have so much fun but he is only 9 months old. I am teaching him how to throw balls. I have every single A’s card from 2000 to now but I am 9-years-old. I had a Major League baseball and it all burned up. So sad. I know you are not all together but hope they get this.”
Dave Kaval joined the organization as the Oakland Athletics’ President, and has been praised for his involvement in the community. He was quick to respond to the letter, saying that he was touched and wanted to outfit Smith’s entire family with new gear from the team, including hats and jerseys. Former A’s players such as Dan Haren and Sean Doolittle also chimed in, asking where they could send some of their game-used baseballs and uniforms.
Topps has been one of the largest manufacturers of baseball cards for generations, and they wanted to help Smith replace some of his cards, offering several autographed cards by current and former players of the team. The official Twitter account of the Athletics also asked for any baseball-related donations for the Smith family, and even other MLB franchises were willing to help, even if Smith is only an A’s fan.
Teams such as the Colorado Rockies, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and many more all came up with care packages containing pillows, backpacks, hats, posters bobbleheads, signed balls, toys and basically anything that you can think of. Many fans across Major League Baseball were touched by the donations, and it was a big example of how intertwined all of the social media accounts for the teams really are.
The official Twitter account of the Detroit Tigers told Smith and the Athletics that “Baseball is family,” while the MLB Players and Alumni Association said “You and your family are part of our baseball family now, Loren!” Social media can certainly be rough around the edges sometimes, especially when it comes to sports, but this was one of those cases where it was an extremely positive experience for all.
Even other fans of the Oakland Athletics chipped in some of their own merchandise, with one sending autographed cards and a replica World Series championship ring, saying that “A’s fans are family.” One woman said that “This thread is the sweetest thing I’ve seen in awhile,” while another Twitter user chimed in that “The response from so many MLB teams is amazing. Way to go everyone involved. Hope it makes Loren happy if even for a day.”