By Jim McKinney
Something beautiful happened at the Davis Little League fields a few weekends ago.
A group of players, coaches, moms and dads got together on a Sunday morning and had a great time playing baseball. As one of many DLL coaches, I give my heart to the boys and the game — but something special can be missing: joy, fun, friendship and just cheering for each other.
What made this day special?
A 10-year-old boy named Paco Haas, who touched our hearts with his big smile, long hair and heartfelt family story. Paco and his family came to Davis several years ago from Michigan. Mom had cancer. She went through treatments at the UC San Francisco Medical Center.
Mom is better now, and Paco is headed back East. During the years he was here, he played on many DLL AA and AAA teams. He touched the heart of every coach and kid he played with. This past Sunday was his going-away game, his Thank You Game, his We Love You Paco Game.
Managers Tim Culter, Drake Biscardi and many supporting coaches pulled together the event at the Davis Little League fields and it was as fun a time as I can remember.
We started with doughnuts and warm-ups, split up casually into two teams, got an ump and played baseball — the way all of us used to do when we were kids. We cheered for everyone, but especially Paco!
No one got stressed, mad — or benched. Every boy played all over the infield and outfield. There were some great plays and hits, and some really dumb mistakes. But it was all good, and all fun.
We ended with: Who cares about the score? Paco had the last at-bat. Then there was a great cheer and group picture as the kids piled on Paco!
Then pizza and soda and more goofy fun.
Kids’ baseball on a beautiful spring day. The way we remember it being. When we all smiled and had fun together. Thank you, boys. Thank you, coaches. Thank you, Paco. We love you, and will miss you.
— Jim McKinney is the AAA Padres manager, a team for which he coaches his kid, Kavi McKinney.