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Orioles give Make-A-Wish participant honorary one-day contract, VIP experience

The Orioles signed Jimmy Martino, a child in the Make-A-Wish program, for a day in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Before Friday night's game, the Orioles held a special news conference to sign Make-A-Wish Foundation participant Jimmy Martino to an honorary one-day contract with the team.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette introduced the 17-year-old Fallston resident, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January, and presented him with an Orioles cap and personalized jersey.

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Asked during the press conference which Orioles player he'd most like to meet, Martino smiled and said, "As good ole' Buck Showalter says, 'I like our guys.' I like the whole team," a statement that elicited laughter from the room.

Duquette said he was happy to add Martino to the organization for the day, then became choked up when detailing Martino's diagnosis.

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"As a parent, you're just grateful that your kids are healthy, and it's kids like these who have to go out and fight the fight every day," Duquette said after the news conference. "They remind you to appreciate that health within your family. There are over 250,000 cases of pediatric cancer diagnosed every year, so this isn't an isolated case. The Orioles and Major League Baseball, they have a platform to bring awareness to it and to help these kids live out their dreams even if it's only for a day."

Martino was able to meet several Orioles players and manager Buck Showalter during batting practice. He then threw out the first pitch before Friday's game, where players and coaches wore gold ribbon decals and wristbands to raise awareness and show their support for pediatric cancer patients.

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