Nick LeGrande is a thirteen year old boy who loves the game of baseball. He always had the dream to one day play in the big leagues. He grew up playing baseball all the time and was playing Little League. Nick’s dreams were stopped abruptly, disappointingly.
LeGrande has been diagnosed severe aplastic anemia, which is a very rare blood disorder. The disorder means that the bone marrow, and the blood stem cells that reside there, are damaged. This causes a deficiency of all three blood cell types. Because of his blood disorder, he is not allowed to be in a large crowd. His parents said that the only time that he has cried was when the doctor told him he could not play baseball anymore. That’s when you know the kid really loves the sport. I can’t imagine what I would do if I was stopped from playing baseball at such a young age. I would hate my life for awhile. But Nick is living a happy life and is enjoying every second of it.
Nick LeGrande will be throwing the first pitch tonight at the Yankee-A’s game. You might be asking, ‘How can he do that if he can’t be in large crowds?’ LeGrande will be 1,800 miles away at a mini-stadium created by Google at its Kansas City offices. At the real game, there will be a telerobotic pitching machine on the mound. The machine is going to follow Nick’s movements while he is in Kansas City. The pitch is going to be made remotely and will be received by A’s reliever Ryan Cook, who introduced Google to Nick.