My Name is Ziggy and I am a Wish Kid
“Today was the best day of my life,” Wish Kid Lazaro “Ziggy” said.
Ziggy, 11, whose wish to be manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers for a day was featured on ESPN’s “My Wish” series in July, has battled a progressive muscular disease since he was born.
A life-long Dodgers fan, Ziggy shouted “This is our year!” as he rode in a limo with his family to Dodger Stadium. With his lineup card in hand, Ziggy was ready and excited to meet his favorite team and watch his favorite player, Clayton Kershaw, on the mound that day. Ziggy arrived at the stadium at 2:30 p.m. and was met by the ESPN crew. They put a mic pack on Ziggy and the fun began.
They toured the stadium and saw jerseys of former players dating all the way back to Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson. Ziggy then went up to the press box and got to see where now retired announcer Vin Scully sat for over 50 years and had a spectacular bird’s-eye view of the field.
Ziggy’s eyes were wide as he walked down the same hallways that the players walk through on game-day. There were posters, photos, Gold Glove awards, Silver Slugger awards, and of course, the two World Series trophies all on display. Ziggy was quietly taking it all in.
As he continued down the hallways, Ziggy stopped at a door. On it, a sign. It said, “LAZARO ‘ZIGGY’ CO-MANAGER, Los Angeles Dodgers.” WOW! Ziggy knocked on the door and it was opened by the man himself, Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts. His smile and warm handshake put Ziggy at ease and the two got down to business, discussing the lineup Ziggy had prepared and their strategy for the day.
Ziggy and Roberts headed back down the hall to the Dodgers clubhouse where the team was introduced to their new co-manager. Ziggy shared that outfielder Joc Pederson told him he was happy because Ziggy put him as #2 in the lineup when he usually bats eighth!
Ziggy then entered the press room for his pre-game interview with the media. He was decked out in his official Dodgers jersey, complete with his name on the back! He sat next Roberts who introduced Ziggy to the press and jokingly deferred any difficult questions to him. Ziggy was asked how he would handle the umpires in the game if they made any bad calls on Kershaw. Ziggy’s response brought down the room…”Let’s just say, I would be Lasorda style!”
After his pre-game interview session with the media, Ziggy took the field for batting practice. While on the field, he interacted with many of the players, and also met legendary pitcher Fernando Valenzuela.
By then, Ziggy had worked up an appetite. During the pre-game meal, the treats kept coming!
After dinner, it was time to get back on the field for his managerial duties. He took his place next to Roberts and stood with the team for the National Anthem, performed by actress Holly Robinson Peete. The last official pre-game duty as co-manager was to walk the lineup card to home plate and shake hands with the umpires and Bud Black, the Rockies Manager.
Since Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully retired, to keep his tradition alive, a VIP gets to say a certain five words that start every game. Ziggy and his family were taken to home plate and Ziggy loudly proclaimed, “IT’S TIME FOR DODGER BASEBALL!” Cheers from the crowd erupted and the game began.
As Ziggy was getting into position in the owner’s box, another Hall of Fame legend appeared—former Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda! He chatted with Ziggy and signed his jersey (see photo). They took their seats and settled in to watch the game.
Roberts spoke with Ziggy throughout the game, and in the sixth inning, they made the decision to pull Kershaw from the game. He had thrown a lot of pitches and the managers knew it was time. Ziggy and his family were taken back into the Dodgers clubhouse for a private one-on-one interaction with Kershaw who was sporting an arm wrapped in ice. He jokingly apologized to Ziggy for having to come out of the game so soon. The pitcher then showed Ziggy how to grip the baseball for some of his signature pitches. The two of them hit it off!
They headed back to the owner’s box to watch the Dodgers blank the Rockies 4-0! Winning pitcher: Clayton Kershaw. In his final act as co-manager, Ziggy took the field one last time to high five the team.
Ziggy asked to say goodbye to Dave Roberts. He had a thank you card for his co-manager and he asked him to be sure and share it with the team. Roberts promised he would.
While in the limo riding back to the hotel, Ziggy was asked what his favorite part of the day was. Without hesitation, he exclaimed, “Everything! My wish changed my life!”
When a wish is granted, a child replaces fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope. Families are uplifted and communities are forever enriched. Medical professionals see the power of wishes firsthand and are driving referrals to an all-time high across our chapter. But, it’s funding that determines the rate at which we can grant wishes. As of today, there are over 70 wishes waiting to be granted here in West Texas. We need your support! There are many ways to get involved: Donate, refer, volunteer, share stories online or start your own fundraiser. Find out more about how you can transform lives here in West Texas at ntx.wish.org.