On Sunday June 30 2013, when the New York Mets took the field there was something very wrong. The scorecard announced that the Mets hard throwing rookie Zach Wheeler would be pitching that day, but in his stead, twelve year old Yoni Rothberg was on the mound for the amazins.
Yoni’s uncle had a connection with the Mets, and was able to get four great seats to the game on April 28th. The family made it to the game early enough to watch batting practice and take a pre-game walk around the stadium. Along the way they stopped off at the Verizon booth to get some game day give-a ways and filled out contest applications. The Philadelphia Phillies won that day, but for Yoni Rothberg the story was far from over.
The next day the person who got Yoni’s uncle the tickets asked how his brother’s family enjoyed the game. Rothberg’s uncle jokingly responded that they were actually really disappointed. When another uncle gave them tickets to a Newark Bears game, Yoni was able to throw out the first pitch, and he was wondering why he couldn’t do the same at the Mets game! Mordy Rothberg, Yoni’s father, told the JLBC “My brothers friend got upset, thought my kids were so spoiled, and was never going to get them tickets again!”
One month later the family received a message from the New York Mets that they won the grand prize in the Verizon’s Moments of a Lifetime Sweepstakes. One member of the family was going to throw out the first pitch at a Mets home game!
When Yoni took the field with the rest of the Mets he set up on the front side of the pitching mound. Mets catcher John Buck, could tell Yoni was a ball player and waved him back to the pitching rubber where the big leaguers throw from. Although Yoni’s father was nervous he wouldn’t make it, much to his delight, Yoni not only reached the plate, but according to the umpire he threw a perfect strike!
In addition to being a moment of a lifetime, one that Yoni will probably never forget, Yoni made a tremendous Kiddush Ha Shem by doing it all with a kippah on his head.