SAN FRANCISCO -- After all the careful planning, the Wade family's secret trip from Maryland to San Francisco nearly was spoiled by a viral video.
The Giants flew LaMonte Wade Jr.'s parents across the country to watch him receive the Willie Mac Award on Friday night, and everyone did a good job of keeping it from the breakout outfielder. But there was one thing the Giants and Wade's parents couldn't have anticipated.
Wade Jr. got his first career walk-off hit on Thursday night and his parents arrived in time to watch it. They were captured on video celebrating from the family section at Oracle Park, and as Wade Jr. did his work in the clubhouse after the game, Tony Reale, the team's physical therapist, mentioned how cool it was that his parents were at the ballpark for the moment. Wade Jr. said they weren't.
"I had a couple of close calls," he said a day later. "It was a very well-kept secret, especially for my mom being here. I figured I would have definitely known that she was here."
The walk-off ended up kicking off a huge 24 hours for the family. Wade was presented with the Willie Mac Award before the game and his parents, Emily and Wade Sr., were brought out on the field to celebrate with him. Emily got to throw the ceremonial first pitch, and while her offering got a lot of air, it certainly was a strike.
After the 3-0 Giants win, Emily asked her son to sign the ball. She also found a way to cut off any teasing about the pitch, which Wade Jr. described as "a very, very loopy fastball that probably would have gotten hit really far."
"She actually said that she did better than Conor McGregor and 50 Cent," he said. "She was pretty excited about that."
Wade Jr. once again found a way to contribute during the game, driving in one of three Giants runs. But the highlight of his night was the ceremony that caught him by surprise. Wade Jr. said he voted for Brandon Crawford and that he could list eight or nine other Giants deserving of the prestigious honor. His teammates and coaches certainly made a good choice.
"The last few days have definitely been very special," he said. "To get the hit yesterday and to celebrate with the fans and my teammates like that was a very special feeling, and to not even know that my parents were in the stands last night was kind of cool. It was just a very special day today and to have my mom throw out the first pitch was just the icing on the cake. That'll be a day we talk about forever and we never forget."