Quinn and his pal Esmil Rogers
The meetings: Part 1
By April Whitzman
Three-year-old Quinn Boultbee watched excitedly from his seats in the left base foul line as some of his favorite Blue Jays players played catch just outside his reach on the Rogers Centre field. It was his first time in front row seats and he was excited to be so close to his favorite players.
One of which was starting pitcher Esmil Rogers, who played catch with his teammate Luis Perez.
“We arrived early, at around 11:30, to watch the players practice,” Quinn’s mother, Molly, told me. “As we approached our seats we saw the pitchers were warming up right in front of our seats.
“Quinn stood timidly at the rail, holding a Sharpie and a bit of paper. I saw Esmil Rogers notice Quinn out of the corner of his eye and almost immediately he came over.”
Rogers jumped into nearby seats and invited Quinn to join him. Both men, both young and old, sported smiles.
“I don’t know why he singled out Quinn, except he was by far the tiniest, and quite possibly the most earnest fan there.”
Rogers sat with Quinn for at least 10 minutes, giving him water and a ball, and trying on his little glove. Quinn showed Rogers his grips for throwing cutters, curveballs and knuckleballs, eliciting an amused, “Ohhhhh, so THAT’S how you’re throwing them?”
“Several fans asked for autographs at this time, to which Rogers replied that he would get them later but that for now he was chilling with his friend.”
After chilling with his friend, Rogers got up and inched towards the field. But instead of returning to the field alone, he lifted Quinn under the arms and brought him onto the field with him.
It was then that Rogers and his new friend Quinn joined Perez in a game of catch. “They prompted Quinn to throw overhand and showed approval when he got it straight into their gloves.”
Despite being three years old, Quinn also had a deep knowledge of the game and quite a bit of talent. “He practices every day and believes himself to have quite a killer repertoire of pitches,” his mother added.
That was evidently shown as he threw the ball back-and-forth with his favorite players.
Eventually, however, their fun came to an end. After 15 minutes of playing catch, Rogers carried Quinn back to his seat.
Rogers then, as promised, returned to the fans who had asked for autographs and photos. He engaged with fans for over an hour.
“Quinn could hardly believe it. He even wore his full Blue Jays outfit to kindergarten on Monday. The ball Rogers gave him rarely leaves his hands.
“Rogers absolutely made his day, and we have to admit, ours too.”