PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Pirates, along with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater PA and Southern WV, hosted 12-year-old Matthew Beichner Tuesday at PNC Park.
Matthew is a Colorado Springs, Colorado, native diagnosed with Germinoma
-- a cancerous germ cell tumor-- whose wish was to meet his hero Andrew McCutchen and have a picnic in centerfield at PNC Park with the reigning MVP.
Matthew's day began with lunch in center field of PNC Park with the Pirates four-time All-Star, McCutchen. They dined on crab legs and chicken fingers -- Matthew’s favorite foods.
“This is what it’s all about,” McCutchen told Channel 11 Sports Director Alby Oxenreiter.
After they ate, the two played catch on the PNC Park outfield grass.
“I caught his highest pop fly,” Matthew said with excitement.
“I set up my glove to catch and he hit my glove every single time I didn't have to move it and I was like, ‘How do you do that because I have 8 errors in the outfield so I need some pointers on what you do to hit that glove,’” McCutchen said.
Following the lunch and catch, Matthew signed a one-day contract with the Pirates in the PNC Park Press Conference Room.
“We’re signing Matthew to a one-day contract,” Pirates President Frank Coonelly announced.
Coonelly, General Manager Neal Huntington and Manager Clint Hurdle presented him with his jersey at a press conference with the Pittsburgh media.
“It was the best day ever,” Matthew said at his press conference.
After meeting with the media, Matthew got a full tour of the Pirates clubhouse, where he had his own locker and full uniform and the opportunity to be introduced to his Pirates teammates.
“It's more than we ever could've wished for and I’m glad he gets to do it with everything he's been through,” said Matthew’s mother, Kim Beichner.
Matthew will be on the field at PNC for Pirates batting practice and later throw out the game time first pitch before the Pirates take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at 7:05 p.m.
Matthew and his family will enjoy the game from a PNC Park luxury suite.
“He’ll never forget this day,” said Kim Beichner as she fought back tears. “He’ll never forget this, ever."
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