Vic Wyrsch, of the San Francisco Fire Department, gathered with his fellow Battalion 3 members outside the AT&T Field waiting for the arrival of Batkid Miles Scott, a 5-year-old boy living out his dream to be a superhero for the day.
The firefighters could barely contain their grins as Wyrsch held his walkie-talkie up to his ear to get updates. He was coordinating the arrival of a fire boat in the cove just beyond that baseball stadium that would spray water once Batkid had triumphed over the Penguin.
“It’s just a great story,” Wyrsch said. “Everybody is so touched by it. This is an amazing day for this city.”
As Wyrsch and his battalion walked into the stadium, Melly Sawatdee walked by trying to figure out where to get the best view of Batkid’s arrival. Sawatdee works for a company nearby and had been following Batkid’s adventures all day on social media.
“I had to come down here and cheer for him in person,” she said. “You can never forget this day.”
Just outside the outfield wall, along a walkway that ran along the waterfront, about 300 people gathered to catch a glimpse of Batkid, with more pouring in from nearby offices. Some wore T-shirts with the Batman logo and hunched over their cellphones trying to track his progress.
In the crowd was Jennifer Koen of Brentwood who had taken the hour-long BART ride from Concord in the East Bay with her four children to be there. They held up yellow signs with black letters saying, “Na na na na na na…Batkid” and “Miles you’re my hero!”
Koen had pulled her kids out of school for the first time ever.
“I just wanted them to experience this moment,” she said.
Among the crowd gathered waiting to watch the action was Jeff Myers, chief of emergency medicine for the San Francisco Fire Department. Myers was wearing a gray shirt with a black Batkid logo on it. He said the Police Department had been selling them as a fundraiser, and he was thrilled to get a chance to wear it.
“It’s a phenomenal day,” he said. “It’s something this boy is going to remember for a long time. And it’s just phenomenal for the city.”
Eventually a car carrying the Penguin and the San Francisco Giants mascot Lou Seal arrived. As the Penguin squawked in glee, Lou held up his wrists to show they were bound together. Eventually the Penguin, dressed in his trademark tuxedo with purple hat, cigarette holder and umbrella, let Lou Seal into the stadium and tied him in a pen beyond the outfield wall.
Nobody had to announced the arrival of Batkid. The cheering throng outside let everyone know he had arrived.
Then Batkid appeared on the scene. Off in the distance of the walkway, he took a few practice rolls with his sidekick, Batman. After discussing strategy, Batkid climbed some stairs to a nearby slide, where the Penguin was waiting, unsuspecting at the bottom. Batkid came sliding down one slide and chased the Penguin into the holding pen. As Batman apprehended the Penguin, Batkid raced to untie Lou Seal as the crowd cheered him on.
With the Penguin in custody, and Lou Seal free, the mascot scooped up Batkid in a big, furry hug. Many in the crowd were snapping pictures on their smartphones with one hand and wiping away tears with the other.
Batkid and his entourage were then escorted down the field, past a couple of hundred fans who were seated in two sections of the lower deck. The crowd began to chant, “Let’s go Batkid! Let’s go Batkid.” Giants President and CEO Larry Baer greeted Batkid with a souvenir baseball and other keepsakes and then led him onto the field to look at the Giants scoreboard, which flashed a sign: “San Francisco Giants Love Batkid.”
The scoreboard then played a video message thanking Batkid for all he had done for the city and instructing him to head to City Hall so the the city could show its gratitude.
Before leaving, though, Batkid slipped off his mask and whispered something into his dad’s ear. Smiling, his dad led him to the infield and then home plate.
Batkid ran to home and proceeded to take a lap around the bases as the crowd cheered again, before running back to home and getting a high-five from Lou Seal.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun