BOSTON — It was a day young Jacoby Catanzano will never forget.
The 9-year-old Jacoby — who overcame severe medical problems to move up from Danvers Little League’s Challenger program to a standard Danvers National Little League team this summer — was treated like royalty at Fenway Park in the final regular season home game for the Boston Red Sox. It was all set up by New England Sports Network (NESN) after reading Jacoby’s unique and touching story in The Salem News last month.
Jenny Dell, the popular field reporter for NESN, escorted Jacoby and his parents, David and Heather Catanzaro, on a tour of Fenway Park before yesterday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. That included a visit to the top of the fabled Green Monster and also up to the press box to meet NESN’s play-by-play voice, Don Orsillo. The youngster knows the names of every Red Sox player and does a spot-on imitation of Orsillo.
But the highlight of the day came when he met his favorite Red Sox player, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. The Gloucester resident identifies so closely with the Red Sox’s leadoff hitter that nurses at Children’s Hospital call him “Jacoby Ellsbury,” because when he sees the Sox outfielder on TV, he hears “Jacoby” and thinks it’s him.
Ellsbury greeted his biggest fan with a bear hug, and they talked baseball. Ellsbury also signed the young Jacoby’s Red Sox uniform.
“The best part of all was talking to Ellsbury,” said the youngster, who showed up ready to play yesterday, even wearing eye black. “He gave me his batting gloves and wristbands.”
The well-worn gloves were a big hit, and Jacoby wore them proudly, demonstrating an Ellsbury-style slide.
David Catanzaro said the star athlete has no idea what motivation he has been for his son and how often his name is spoken by therapists.