A player for the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team politely asked Marlins outfielder Monte Harrison if he would mind giving him a bat as a souvenir.
“Not only will I give you one of my bats,” Harrison said, “I’ll get you a brand new one.”
And with that, Harrison raced inside the Marlins’ clubhouse to find a bat to give the high school player.
It was that kind of day for student members of the Stoneman Douglas baseball and softball teams, who spent Friday taking in baseball at Roger Dean Stadium, just nine days after a former student shot and killed 17 at the Parkland school.
“We need a feeling of normalcy,” Douglas senior Ricky Shimko said. “Baseball helps us that that. It helps us feel a lot better, take our mind off stuff.”
Marlins players and manager Don Mattingly patiently autographed baseballs and posed for pictures with the Douglas players. Co-owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman addressed the teams.
“We’ve gone through plenty of funerals throughout this week,” Douglas senior pitcher Connor Brian said. “It’s been a sad couple of weeks. Just being here and watching baseball gets our minds off things.”
Brian, who said he had attended six to seven funerals since the shootings, had written the names of all 17 of those killed under the bill of his cap.
All 30 Major League teams wore Stoneman Douglas caps as Grapefruit and Cactus league play got underway Friday in Florida and Arizona.
“It’s so nice they’re doing that for us,” Brian said.