Alex Rodriguez made one Marine veteran and his son very happy on Wednesday at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
Former Gunnery Sergeant Roy McDaniel took his son Deven and Deven’s best friend Charlie to the ballgame between the Angels and Yankees with the hope of meeting Rodriguez, whom McDaniel has admired since the start of his career. McDaniel made a sign reading, “Made it back from Afghan so my son can meet A-Rod 13,” prompting Angels management to move McDaniel as close to the field as possible during batting practice.
As batting practice ended, someone told Rodriguez about the sign. Rodriguez broke off conversing and hurried over to McDaniel, initiating a dialogue with the Marine, Deven, and Deven’s friend.
Rodriguez shook McDaniel’s hand, and thanked him for his service. He autographed the sign, signed three baseballs for the group, and then posed for a picture with them. A grateful McDaniel said, “That was amazing.”
McDaniel, who spent 13 years in active duty and endured two deployments to Afghanistan, has undergone neck and hip surgery since his honorable discharge, leaving him with mobility issues.
Since revelations about Rodriguez’s PED use, the value of his autograph has declined precipitously. But for McDaniel, the value of the autograph isn’t measured in dollars and cents. He said, “Ever since he made his debut in Seattle two decades ago, he has been one of my favorite players.”
One of his favorite players went 1-for-5 on Wednesday. The Yankees nevertheless topped the Angels 3-1.