COVID-19 restrictions have forced the Seattle Mariners to get creative with the execution of the typical pregame ceremony for the Home Opener. When the Mariners meet the Oakland Athletics on Friday, July 31 at T-Mobile Park, one of the elements that has grown to be a fan favorite, the Ceremonial First Run Around the Bases by a Make-A-Wish® child, will be part of the virtual pregame festivities.
Since the ballpark first opened in 1999, a child has been the first one to “touch them all” on Opening Day. Joey Hutchinson, the grandson of the legendary Fred Hutchinson, was the first to have the honor. Beginning in 2000, the Mariners reached out to longstanding community partner Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington to select a child from those participating in the non-profit’s wish fulfilment program.
This season, the First Run Around the Bases honor goes to six-year old Lily of Snohomish. Lily is being treated for Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare disorder that that is characterized by an abnormal increase in certain immune cells called histiocyte cells. Instead of fighting infections, the extra immune cells produced by this condition may form tumors, which can affect parts of the body like the bones and possibly spread to other areas.
Lily’s wish was to receive a puppy. In March, she adopted a mini Goldendoodle named Daisy.
Because Lily is immune-compromised, and to meet the strict protocols on access to T-Mobile Park during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lily and her family made the trip to the ballpark one evening almost two weeks ago to videotape her run around the bases. The video will be incorporated into the Mariners Opening Night pregame ceremony, which will be carried live on ROOT SPORTS beginning at 6:00pm (game time is 6:40pm).
“Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed just about everything about baseball this season, it was important for us to maintain the tradition and incorporate a Make-A-Wish child into our pregame ceremony. It’s grown to be a fan favorite, and is always a highlight of the program,” said Mandy Lincoln, Seattle Mariners Director of Marketing.
Lily, who lives with her mom, dad, brother, and Daisy the puppy, is happy indoors or outdoors. She loves to dress up, paint her fingernails glittery pink and play with her Barbie dolls. She also loves playtime at the park where her favorite things to do are swing and go down the slide “super fast.”
In addition to Barbies and the park, Lily’s favorite things include vanilla cupcakes, strawberry macarons, sushi and pizza.
Every year since 2000, a local Wish kid from Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington has helped usher in the new baseball season at T-Mobile Park. These courageous kids have the honor to be the first person each year to make the journey from base to base in front of the sold-out Opening Day crowd. The Mariners partnership with Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington dates back over 30 years since the team granted its first wish in 1989 for six-year-old Jayson whose wish was to meet Ken Griffey Jr.