Big Papi Takes Middleboro Teen to the Big Leagues
Dominic Driscoll's dream is to one day put on a baseball uniform and play with the pros — and now, he's one step closer.
Earlier this month, former Red Sox Designated Hitter David "Big Papi" Ortiz surprised the 14-year-old Middleboro kid with his wish come true: throwing the first pitch at Fenway.
Despite being diagnosed with serious heart defects before he was even born, Driscoll has played ball at home since he was a toddler, and in Middleboro Little League since he was eight.
At the Make-A-Wish Foundation's 40th anniversary gala for the Massachusetts and Rhode Island branch earlier this month, Ortiz revealed and granted Driscoll's wish for a Red Sox experience.
He'll be throwing the first ceremonial pitch at Fenway Park during a Sox game sometime this summer — although he hasn't yet been told when.
Playing Baseball With a Heart Condition
"I've always been a Red Sox fan," Driscoll said, noting that he's dreamed of being a Sox player for years.
Mom Kristen told WBSM News that when they learned about Dominic's heart, she and husband Bill "really didn't know what we were gonna get."
"We knew that he was going to have three open heart surgeries really early on in life, so it was really scary and traumatic," she said.
But when he was born, she said, they realized early on that he was "a little fighter."
"He literally was the most active kid," Kristen said. "I've been around kids my whole life, I'm the oldest of six, and I never saw anything like it."
When he started playing Little League games at eight years old, Kristen said, "It was really scary for me."
But she and Bill told Dominic to pay attention and take a break whenever he needs it.
"We kind of taught Dom early on to listen to his body," she said. "If you need to stop and take a break, no one can do that for you. So he kind of trained himself to listen."
Dominic also raises awareness and funding for congenital heart disease charities, dedicating one recent Little League season to a child who received a heart transplant.
Make-A-Wish Gala and Meeting Big Papi
At the gala, Ortiz revealed Dominic's wish — the 40th he has given out through the organization — and was also awarded himself, earning the 2023 Wish Hero Award for granting 40 wishes.
Big Papi said in his speech that "being able to make a wish happen is an honor…it’s one of the biggest homeruns that I could ever hit."
Meanwhile for Dominic, meeting Big Papi — who he called "one of the greatest of all time" — was "such a crazy moment in my life."
"Super nerve-wracking, but super excited at the same time — that's how I felt walking up on the stage," he said.
Along with throwing the first pitch, Dominic will also get special access to the player entrance and a tour of the clubhouse as well as the ball park.
He'll be treated to dinner, meet some of the players, and be able to watch the pregame batting and fielding practice before the game — and then he and his family can watch the game from seats right next to the dugout and inside the Green Monster, too.
All of the Driscolls — including Dominic's sister Natalia and brother Gabrien — attended the Make-A-Wish gala.
"We didn't know what his wish was going to be," Kristen said. "As Big Papi was telling him his wish, it just seemed to keep getting better and better, and it was really emotional."
"He's so deserving of this," she added. "He's the most humble kid...and this is just like a dream come true for him. We are so grateful."
As for Dominic, he's just focused on one thing.
"I have to throw a strike," he said.
Learn more about Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island at massri.wish.org.