HOUSTON — It was his first trip to the diamond. Seven-year-old Graham McAnelly was at the edge of his seat, at the edge of left field, watching his favorite player during batting practice.
“He always hits home runs, and he’s really good at baseball," Graham said.
But his first ever Astros game didn’t go so well.
“Alex Bregman hit a ball, and it hit my jaw and it fractured it. My dad, he was trying to get a medic to come and help me," Graham said.
A Bregman line drive hit him square in the jaw.
“A crowd of people had gathered, and a couple of adults turned around asking for a parent. And I knew immediately that it had been him that had been hit," Graham's father William McAnelly said.
An ice pack kept Graham pain free the rest of the game. The next day, X-rays confirmed it was a fractured jaw, and the 7-year-old was put on a liquids only diet for eight weeks.
“Like a milkshake or like a smoothie," Graham said.
But through all the tears and all the pain, Graham’s loyalty was never lost.
“Because he’s a really nice person," Graham said.
And three weeks later, he was invited back to batting practice - this time with a better view.
“We’ve kind of come full circle. It’s quite a difference standing here right now, as opposed to being in the Crawford Boxes holding your child who’s crying," McAnelly said.
All Graham’s hoping for is a little love from his favorite third baseman.
“I'm trying to get Alex Bregman to sign my ball," Graham said.
A wish that actually came true.
“I smashed you? I'm sorry dude," Bregman said to Graham.
It was the ultimate cure.
“That was my bad, and I had to get him some BG, some batting gloves, so I'm sorry. And it wont happen again, gotta keep it fair," Bregman said.
Graham left with an apology and a special set of batting gloves.
“I got his glove and his autograph," Graham said. “He said I was like a trooper, and he said I was very nice.”
It’s all the medicine he will ever need.
“It’s replaced a lot of tears with a lot of smiles," McAnelly said.