06/08/2014 12:28 AM
It was a day the Guinn family will never forget. Kevin and Trisha saw their four year-old son, Patrick, sign a contract to become a member of the St. Joe Mustangs.
The Guinn family arrived at Phil Welch Stadium at four o’clock Saturday afternoon, but Patrick was still trying to get in a quick afternoon nap.
The nap would pay dividends because Patrick had a full day’s activities ahead him. Mustangs’ Manager Matt Johnson made sure that Patrick would enjoy himself and gave the Guinn family a memory of a lifetime.
“I’ve got kids of my own, and anytime that you can see a smile on a kid’s face is special,” said Johnson.
Patrick proved to be a very energetic four year-old, but his shy side was the first thing Johnson and crew saw. Johnson attempted to sign the young lefty to his contract in the first ten minutes of the day, but Patrick had other things in mind.
After holding out on signing the contract, Patrick proceeded to find a young child’s favorite things, water and dirt. Patrick, along with Johnson’s daughter Brynlee, decided playing in the water-filled tarp on top of the field was more fun.
It wasn’t long before the two were joined by another “kid”. Mustangs’ player Joe Koerper walked out of the dugout and onto the tarp and joined Patrick and Brynlee. The three proceeded to not only play in the water, but had to take several laps around the outfield.
After about 35 minutes of running and playing, Johnson thought he could possibly sign this high-profile lefty. Johnson and Kevin Guinn attempted to get Patrick to sign, but even with the help of some Mustangs’ players, Patrick still held out.
Patrick instead wanted to help his future teammates roll the tarp off the field. Patrick, alongside his new friend Brynlee, helped remove the tarp and roll it over to the left field fence. However, there are rumors that Patrick may have actually been barking out orders while putting the tarp away.
Patrick has a fascination with trains, and a few weeks prior, he was able to drive a train, which made the next priority on Patrick’s agenda unsurprising. While the field was being prepared, Patrick spotted the gator. He immediately thought it would be cool to ride around the field, but of course he wouldn’t do it without his new friend Brynlee.
After about two hours of laughing and playing, Johnson finally got his big prospect to sign his deal. It took several incentives including riding in the gator, playing in the water, and possibly the biggest one, an orange marker. Patrick signed his first baseball contract in his favorite color; orange.
Patrick received his own locker, uniform and name plate. He was even named the starting pitcher for the Saturday night game against Joplin, less than ten minutes after signing his contract. Patrick would strike out the first batter of the ball game in three straight pitches with his dad doing the catching.
However, three years ago, this day may have just been a dream for Kevin and Trisha. On April 8, 2011, Patrick was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy or DCM. The condition occurs when the heart becomes weakened and enlarged and cannot pump blood efficiently. The decreased functions can affect the lungs, liver, and other body systems.
The discovery occurred after he was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital. The Guinn’s almost left the hospital thinking that Patrick had bronchitis, but an X-ray determined that Patrick’s heart was enlarged.
“There’s no real way to describe it, when the doctor comes back and tells you that your one year-old child has heart failure,” said Kevin Guinn. You don’t know if he’s gonna make it through the night, but we’re going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening.”
Three years later, Patrick has made almost a complete recovery, but the Guinn’s still take the needed precautions.
“We carry an AED around at all times,” said Kevin. “He’s got genetic predispositions that can cause sudden cardiac arrest and we are just prepared for that on a moment’s notice.”
The day will be remembered not only by the Guinn family, but the entire Mustangs’ organization and the 3,000 plus fans that witnessed Patrick Guinn’s dreams come true.
“Hopefully, he will remember it for the rest of his life and be able to tell his children that he’s been on this field and did this,” said Trisha. “It’s pretty amazing.”