When Oakland Athletics first base coach Tye Waller came up to first baseman Brandon Moss and outfielder Josh Reddick and asked if they had any interest in visiting an 11-year-old boy who had been wounded in the Boston Marathon bombings a week ago, their responses were immediate.
“I said, '100 percent,’ ” Moss recalled. “Anything -- anything -- you can do to brighten especially a kid's day.”
Aaron Hern, a sixth-grader at Martinez Junior High School in California, was hit by shrapnel as he waited for his mother Katherine to finish the race, and he sustained a deep wound to his left thigh.
Hern has made great strides in his recovery at Children's Hospital, and in the meantime, supporters have organized fund-raisers to help his cause and First Lady Michelle Obama visited him.
For Moss and Reddick, the visit was powerful.
“Just an incredible kid, incredible family,” Moss said. “The way he's handling this whole situation, the circumstances he's been given, I don't think I've ever been more impressed by a kid or a family. They're amazing people, they really were.”
Moss and Reddick are part of a large pocket of players in the Oakland clubhouse with ties to Boston, having either played for the Sox or grown up here.
Designated hitter Nate Freiman, who grew up in Wellesley, was in the parking lot of the Oakland Coliseum when he started getting texts from relatives that there had been explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
“We had gone to the Marathon every year in Wellesley to see the runners goes by,” Freiman said. “We’ve never seen it from Boylston Street but we had been every year and I immediately got texts from my other family members saying that they were OK, but there were a lot of people that weren’t as fortunate to have their family be OK.
"I went inside, only a couple of people were there, and I turned on the TV and just couldn’t move.”
Like many, Freiman felt scared and confused, even from across the country.
“It was a really tough couple of days, and positives have come out of it,” he said. “It definitely makes me proud to be from this city and to see the way it’s brought out the best in so many people, and the way the city has handled it has been a huge inspiration, but the pain that was caused this past week hit really hard.”