Napoli Makes A Crying Kid Smile

Guest post by Jen Royle of Sports Reel Boston

We all know the saying, “there’s no crying in baseball,” but die-hard Texas Rangers fan, 5-year-old Cade Johnson from Waco, Texas, apparently didn’t get the memo, or maybe he just couldn’t read it yet. Upon hearing the news that his favorite baseball player, Mike Napoli, would be leaving his beloved home team angers to join the Boston Red Sox, the precious little baseball fan couldn’t hold back his emotions. And his father, Daniel Johnson, captured every moment.

Enter YouTube.

It didn’t take long for the video to go viral – over 36,000 views – and end up in Mike Napoli’s hands.

“Find this kid,” Napoli tweeted from is account (@MikeNapoli25) with over 100K followers. And with the help from friends, Cade Johnson was eventually found through Justin Frazell, host of “The Justin and Charla Morning Show” on 95.9 The Ranch in Fort Worth, who had posted the YouTube video in January of this year. Frazell put Napoli’s camp in touch with the Johnson family and the rest was history.

What’s the outcome?

While attending Spring Training in Fort Myers with his new team, the Boston Red Sox, Napoli racked his brain on how to make the young Cade Johnson smile. After brainstorming several ideas, Napoli sent over two autographed game jerseys – a No.12 Red Sox and a No. 25 Rangers – along with a hand-written note.

Cliff notes from the note read:

I didn’t like seeing you cry in the video, so I hope these two autographed game jerseys will make you smile.

From one catcher to the other,
Mike Napoli

“Napoli made Cade want to be a catcher,” said mom Lesley Johnson. “He’s a tough little boy who loves the game and he’s been a Napoli fan since the first time he saw him play. Not to mention, he dressed up as him for halloween.

“When Cade first found out Napoli was joining the Red Sox,” Johnson continued, “he asked me if I would buy him a Napoli Red Sox jersey. That was after the tears stopped, of course.”

“Nobody likes to see a child cry,” Napoli said. “Especially over me. I wanted Cade to know how much players really do appreciate fans. We were all fans at his age so I sort of understood why he was upset.
“Signing and sending the shirts was the least I could do. It makes me happy just knowing he’s smiling somewhere in Texas.”

Cade’s reaction was priceless. According to his mother, Cade was speechless and all smiles when he opened the box send all the way from Ft. Myers, Florida.

Lifelong Rangers fans, the Johnson Family now claim to be fans of the Red Sox – or at least have a special place in their heart of them – mostly due to Napoli’s kind gesture. It seems, however, Cade will be a fan of whichever team Napoli is a member of.

Fans tend to think our favorite athletes are just jersey numbers rather than real people with real feelings. If this story doesn’t convince you otherwise, I don’t know what will.

You can read more from Jen by clicking here.