Lyndsey Dworkin woke up Saturday morning, climbed out of bed and asked her mom a question.
"Did that all really happen last night? Otherwise, I just had the craziest dream."
It was real, her mom assured her. Every magical moment.
Brandon Belt really did tell the 12-year-old cancer survivor that he would hit a home run for her at the San Jose Giants game. And Belt really did deliver in the first inning, blasting a towering shot over the right-field fence at Municipal Stadium.
The autographed home run ball sitting in the Dworkin home in Mountain View now serves as proof. It says: "To Lyndsey, My Good luck charm. -- Brandon Belt."
Belt made his promise just before game time, after watching Dworkin throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The girl had chosen to wear a Belt T-shirt for the occasion, so as she trotted off the mound Belt raced out of the dugout to say hello.
Belt, on a rehab assignment from a broken thumb, felt an instant kinship with the girl on the mend. Dworkin has undergone 31 bouts of radiation and nine rounds of chemotherapy. At the end of the conversation, Belt told her: "I'm going to hit a home run for you."
Kristine Dworkin, the girl's mom, was among those who was listening.
"I thought, 'What a sweet thing to say. He seems like a nice guy,' " Kristine said. But she never thought it would happen.
"I thought, 'C'mon, Brandon. A home run? Maybe a single,' " said Juliana Paoli, the San Jose Giants director of marketing. But she never thought it would happen.
And Lyndsey's reaction?
"I kind of forgot about it," she said with a laugh Saturday. She was thrilled to have met Belt, but it wasn't until Paoli came bearing the souvenir ball retrieved from the parking lot that the kid remembered the home run promise. "That's when I said, 'Oh, yeah. He did say that.' "
Belt blasted his home run with two on and nobody out against Braden Shipley, kick starting an 8-3 victory over Visalia. It was the first home run Belt has hit since he was sidelined May 9.
Belt has now extended an invitation to the Dworkin family to come to AT&T Park whenever he gets activated from the disabled list. The first baseman is already making arrangements to make sure they can be on the field during batting practice.
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