Hailey Dawson gets her Orioles fandom from her father.
Everything about Hailey Dawson's gig in Houston on Saturday seems too good to be true: how she'll be handling the ceremonial first pitch for Game 4 of the World Series; how she'll be doing it despite Poland syndrome, a rare congenital disease that left the 7-year-old without a pectoral muscle and three fingers on her right hand; how she'll nonetheless deliver a baseball to home plate with a 3D-printed hand.
But she'd probably tell you it could be better. The game could be the National League's Los Angeles Dodgers against the American League's Orioles.
Two years ago, after throwing out the first pitch at a Nevada Las-Vegas baseball game, Dawson made her big league debut at age 5. The daughter of an Orioles fan from Hagerstown, Dawson made headlines at Camden Yards with a prosthetic hand (in Orioles colors, of course) produced by UNLV's mechanical-engineering department. Manny Machado, her favorite player, caught the ceremonial pitch.
In June, the Las Vegas resident made it out to Washington to pitch before a Nationals game. In September, a Bleacher Report feature launched her dream of making it to every big league ballpark.
"I started crying. Who gets to do that? My daughter. She gets to do that," Yong Dawson, her mother, told CBS. "When she does it, she talks about Poland syndrome, she talks about her hand. It's that awareness for her. It's that awareness for us."