A 27-year-old Riverside man with special needs whose Dodgers hat was stolen threw the ceremonial first pitch at Tuesday evening’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium.
The story of Dodgers fan Michael Cadena has gone viral, Michael’s mother, Sylvia, told Southern California News Group.
Michael Cadena was born with Apert syndrome, a genetic disorder that prevents the skull from growing normally and affects the shape of the head and face.
He is developmentally delayed, but is independent enough to take public transportation to his job at Savers, a thrift store in Riverside.
The journey to deliver the first pitch began April 12, when Michael stopped by a Target store before heading to work. A man in the parking lot approached Michael and told him to give up his hat, his mother said. Michael refused. The man asked again and Michael fled inside the store. The man followed him inside, where he shoved Michael, grabbed the hat and put it on his head.
Sylvia Cadena then posted Michael’s story to Facebook in hopes of catching the thief. Good Samaritans have since donated hats, tickets and memorabilia to Cadena.
Dodger first baseman Cody Bellinger presented Michael Cadena with a team jersey. Michael Cadena threw the pitch to Bellinger.