ST. LOUIS – The Hawaiian word “mahalo” means thanks or gratitude. On Tuesday morning, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong had that on his hat and in his heart.
“We’re blessed to play for the Cardinals and to come see these kids in times when it looks tough for them,” Wong said. “It’s just to kind of bring some light and show them we’re here to support them and be for them.”
After winning 7-0 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night, the players, their wives, and girlfriends, and a cart full of bears made their way around SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital Tuesday morning.
“The community has done so much for us,” said Alissa Wong, Kolten’s wife. “We’ve been here six years now. So being able to give back to the community that’s done so much for us is huge on our list and we look forward to doing it anyway we can.”
“My wife signed us up for it and we always like to interact with kids,” said Daniel Ponce de Leon, St. Louis Cardinal pitcher. “We have two of our own. So anything to make them smile.”
“We’re just coming out here to hang out with some kids on a day before a night game,” said Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher. “So just seeing some kids and hopefully brightening up their day. We got some Build-a-Bears for them.”
Armed with sharpies and with time for selfies and photographs, for some this wasn’t the first time they’ve met a professional ballplayer.
“The time he paid for my ticket I got to go see a game and it was my first game,” said patient Maya Mendez. “You get to meet some of the baseball players and be in the dugout for the game.”