Kapler, Phillies surprise young hospital patients during ballpark sleepover

Andrew Kramer
November 17, 2018 - 10:52 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Children who are currently being treated at hospitals throughout the Delaware Valley got to spend the night at Citizens Bank Park to start the weekend during a special sleepover in the Phillies clubhouse.

"It's cool," said 10-year-old Noah Xavier. "I just got close to the Phanatic, I gave him my autograph."

Yes, the Phillie Phanatic joined in on the fun, as did the Phillies ballgirls. The kids expected all that.

What the kids didn't know was that manager Gabe Kapler was going to show up. But when they opened the door to the clubhouse, there he was.

"I saw a lot of big, bright eyes in young people who are excited to be here," Kapler told KYW Newsradio.

Kapler signed autographs and offered the children advice, before he and the Phillies let them enjoy the ultimate Phillies fan experience.

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"(The sleepover) gives them an opportunity to live like a player for a day," he explained. "They're going to have free access to the batting cage, to the weight room, a real opportunity to take a break from some of the things they're dealing with."

"I'm in the Phillies stadium and I got my own locker," said 10-year-old Cole Mulholland when asked what the best part of the sleepover has been.

Phillies Sleepover
Andrew Kramer | KYW Newsradio

All the kids were given their own lockers, each one full of gifts during this event that was just as rewarding for their parents and families.

"He's always in the hospital," said Cole's mom, Michelle. "It's great to see him smiling, and not have to worry about what's going to happen."

Before the Kapler surprise and clubhouse experience, the kids took to the field and lined up behind home plate to watch recorded messages from Phillies players on the jumbotron.

A recording of Dan Baker then played, introducing all the kids the same way he would introduce the players on game day.