A little kindness goes a long way.
It’s a message our elders try to instill in us at a young age. But it’s witnessing moments like the one the Los Angeles Dodgers shared Friday that gives those words meaning.
In 2006, then Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley took a moment out of his pregame routine to meet a 10-year-old cancer survivor named Devin Smeltzer. Little did Utley know then that in 2018, he would not only meet Devin Smeltzer again, but share a clubhouse with him.
That’s right. They’re teammates now.
Smeltzer, 22, is a pitching prospect in the Dodgers organization, and their incredible story was recently brought full circle after they reunited at spring training.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) March 30, 2018
Utley doesn’t show much emotion, but he’s clearly taken aback when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts tells the story and introduces Smeltzer to the team. More footage of the incredible reunion will be aired on an upcoming episode of Backstage Dodgers.
Smeltzer is a Voorhees, N.J. native and a graduate of Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, in Pennsauken, N.J. That’s Phillies country if you didn’t know, so it was a really big deal to meet Chase Utley in 2006.
We’re guessing it was just as big a deal in 2018.
The up-and-coming left-hander was the Dodgers fifth round selection in the 2016 draft. He spent the 2017 season in A-Ball, and will hope to continue advancing this season.
Smeltzer carries with him a lot of memories from his childhood. He also carries the memories of those he met at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. As he revealed in an MLive.com story last year, when someone from his cancer family at St. Christopher’s loses their cancer battle, he writes the name on his cap.
He started that tradition in high school and plans to continue until his baseball days are done.
That, too, is an act of goodwill that’s impossible to measure.
If you’re looking for a young player to root for, Devin Smeltzer is as good a choice as any in baseball.
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