Kansas City Royals rookie catcher/outfielder MJ Melendez typically scrawls a Bible verse on the wrist tape wrapped around his glove arm. However, he opted for a personal message Wednesday heading into the Royals’ series finale against the Minnesota Twins.
Melendez wrote “#PrayForEaston” on his wrist tape for 12-year-old Easton Oliverson, a boy from Utah in critical condition after falling from a bunk bed Monday morning at the players’ dormitory at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
News of Oliverson’s injuries was first reported by the St. George News in Utah on Monday, the story has received widespread attention in recent days with the Little League World Series beginning on Wednesday.
Melendez said he became aware of Oliverson’s story on Tuesday night, and he had conversations about it with his father and longtime college baseball coach, Mervyl. Melendez said they’re praying for Oliverson and his family. Mervyl has reached out to the family and has been in contact with the boy’s uncle.
— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) August 17, 2022
“It’s bigger than baseball, but I’d seen it because of baseball and being in the Little League World Series,” Melendez said. “Obviously, that’s something that’s very scary, life-threatening.”
The Snow Canyon Little League team that Oliverson plays for became the first Utah team to reach the Little League World Series, according to the St. George News.
Oliverson, who plays outfield and pitches, reportedly fell approximately 6 feet from the top bunk onto a hardwood floor and suffered fractures to his skull and cheekbone as well as bleeding between the inside of his skull and his brain according to reports. He was transported via helicopter to a children’s hospital in Pennsylvania.
Oliverson’s father, Jace, serves as an assistant coach for the team. The team released a statement to the newspaper on Monday afternoon which read: “We have been told from his family that his current condition is critical but we are optimistic with some of the early signs he has recently shown. We join the family in asking for prayers on his behalf.”
Asked about his initial reaction when he heard the story, Melendez replied, “Immediately I got pretty sad. The first thing I think of is what happened, him falling off the bunk bed — a freak accident — and it’s not like it happened in baseball.
“Either way, it’s a horrible situation. It’s something that obviously, he couldn’t control. For that to be such a scary moment, not only for a little kid, but for his family, his teammates if any of them had to witness that. It’s just a scary situation, something you don’t ever want to see anybody go through, especially a little kid. Getting to play in the Little League World Series and unfortunately he’ll have to be sidelined for that. It’s pretty sad.”
Melendez’s aim was to give the family some hope with his message of support on his wrist and potentially connect with the young boy.