Last Sunday, Phillies shortstop Bryson Stott stepped up to the plate with the game and a series sweep of the Angels on the line. The Phillies were losing, 7-6, and down to their final out. Stott saw five pitches and worked his way to a 3-2 count.
All of a sudden, before Stott saw his sixth pitch, the Phillies’ TV broadcast panned out to the right field stands, where a young fan, Caden Marge, was captured desperately praying to the baseball gods. Stott answered those prayers, launching a 74.7-mph curveball just a few rows short of where Marge was sitting. The Phillies won the game, 9-7, on Stott’s walk-off, three-run home run, and Caden, who was sitting with his father and a few of his Little League teammates, went ballistic.
The 8-year-old from West Chester may be young, but he has been raised as a true Philadelphia sports fan.
“We were preparing for the worst,” he said Friday.
“Hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst,” his father, Joe, interjected.
Since then, Caden has become somewhat of a Philadelphia sports sensation. He’s been interviewed by the local CBS and ABC affiliates. ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi shared the viral clip of Caden on his Twitter account. Caden has been getting autograph requests at school. And Joe, in the meantime, has been working hard at his new part-time job.
“I’m basically his agent,” Joe said. “He’s going to school, and I’m the one in the background taking requests and trying to schedule everything. I don’t know how people who are actually famous deal with this on a daily basis.”
The Phillies contacted Joe shortly after the walk-off win and invited Caden and a few of his friends to the ballpark to watch batting practice ahead of Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks. It was there that Stott presented his young fan with a jersey and one of his bats.
“To Caden,” Stott wrote. “Thanks for the help! Go Phils!”
Stott also signed Caden’s cap and a baseball. The Marge family has a full schedule for the rest of Friday evening. Caden will make an appearance in the Phillies’ TV broadcast booth with Tom McCarthy and John Kruk in the second inning. After that, he’s supposed to dance on the field with the Phillie Phanatic between the fifth and sixth innings. But he said the meeting with Stott — who is his “second-favorite player” behind Bryce Harper — was the highlight of his day.
“It’s fun to be part of Philadelphia sports lore for a moment,” Joe said. “Just a moment. We realize it’s fleeting, and we won’t be here for long, but we’re going to enjoy it while we’re here.”
Joe knows his son is lucky; a kid who got caught on camera at just the right time. He hopes the Phillies will be able to rattle off some more wins, and, in a couple of months, they will be able to point to this as the moment they turned it around.
“Maybe they’ll win the World Series,” Joe said to his son on Friday. “Who knows?”
“The season’s not over yet, Dad,” Caden said. “The season’s not over yet.”
Spoken with the cautious optimism of a true Phillies fan.