NewsLocal News


Teen diagnosed with rare blood disease throws first pitch at baseball game 1,800 miles away from KC

Posted at 8:52 PM, Jun 12, 2013
and last updated 2015-08-19 12:56:59-04

From 1,800 miles away, a teen in Kansas City threw out the first pitch for a baseball game in Oakland, Cali., Wednesday night.

It’s the pitch that made Major League Baseball history, and it was all a secret until about an hour before the first pitch for the game between the A’s and the New York Yankees.

When Nick LeGrande showed up at the Google Fiber space, he found out about the first pitch.

In January, doctor’s at Children’s Mercy Hospital diagnosed Nick with a rare blood disease called severe aplastic anemia. It benched the baseball player for the season. He gets treatment once a week at Children’s Mercy.

But his recent medical diagnosis and distance weren’t enough to keep him from a life-long dream.

Shortly after he was diagnosed, Google reached out to Children's Mercy Hospital to find a patient who loves baseball because the company had an idea to use Google Fiber to connect the patient with a robot hundreds of miles away to throw out the first pitch. Doctors at Children's Mercy nominated Nick.

Then Google arranged for the first telerobotic first pitch in MLB history to be during the game between the Oakland A's and the New York Yankees. So, connected by an app from 1,800 miles away, Nick was right there on the mound in Kansas City while a robot was on the mound in Oakland. When he pitched the robot arm followed through and the pitch made history.

Nick’s drug treatment has a cure rate of almost 70 percent, so Nick may easily be playing his favorite game again for himself.

You might wonder why a Kansas City boy wouldn't be throwing out a first pitch at a Royals game. Organizers tell us a deal wasn't a possibility because of an existing partnership with the team.