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Local fans decked out in red head to see ‘Mez’

September 22, 2011

Devin Mesoraco fans Maddox (left) and Teeg Hetrick sport their new “Mez” shirts, which were distributed at Rich Kuntz Memorial Field Wednesday in Punxsutawney. Mesoraco’s first trip to Pittsburgh as a Major Leaguer begins tonight with a 7:05 start against the Pirates. (Photo by Zak Lantz/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Every child has big dreams. Some want to be an astronaut, some want to be president, and others want to be professional athletes.
Likewise, every parent dreams big for their children. They may have different ideas of what they should do one day, but the dreams are there nonetheless.

For the Mesoraco family, the past month has been one where they have had their opportunity to see all their dreams come true in son Devin’s call-up to the Major Leagues.

“Well, it’s very special,” Devin’s mother, Laura, said. “It’s a pretty good feeling. You still get nervous, but it’s pretty special for us. All the hard work and dedication by the family has paid off, by Doug (Devin’s father) and by Jordan. Jordan’s a great brother and a great supporter of Devin.”

The thrill of it all extends beyond the immediate family, as well.
“Everybody, especially the grandparents and other family, we’re so grateful that they can be here to experience that,” Laura said. “They’ve been his biggest fans. Aunts, uncles and cousins; It’s just amazing, and it’s all so good for Devin.”

This weekend, several local followers of Mesoraco will have their opportunity to see him play in person when his Cincinnati Reds play the Pirates in Pittsburgh today through Sunday.

“I don’t know how many people are going,” Laura said. “I just know there’s a ton going. There’s going to be a lot of red at PNC Park.”
Tonight and Saturday, first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m., and Sunday’s start time will be 1:35 p.m.

A large group of local Mesoraco supporters plans to travel to Pittsburgh this weekend for one game or all three.

Although there is no certainty that Mesoraco will play, his chances of seeing significant time are improved due to the Reds’ two other catchers missing time lately with health issues.

Wednesday, Doug and Laura found themselves parked at Rich Kuntz Memorial Field, where Devin played Legion ball for so many years, selling “Mez” T-shirts for local fans to show their Mesoraco pride, especially at the games this weekend.

The shirts, produced by Standard Pennant, are Cincinnati red with “Mez” and a picture of Devin making a throw on the front and Mesoraco’s name and number on the back.

“‘Mez; is what the big league people call him,” Laura said. “The teammates calls him ‘Mez.’ When he was in the Gulf Coast League, they started calling him that, and it just kind of stuck.”

When Devin first heard word via Facebook that his parents were doing the T-shirts, he wasn’t exactly thrilled.

“I didn’t even tell Devin, and somebody put it on Facebook,” Laura said. “I got a text from him at one o’clock in the morning that said, ‘No T-shirts!,’ but I told him some friends approached us and wanted shirts to wear to support him, so Doug and I sort of took it on so we could get the design we liked.”

Devin still wasn’t fully on board, but there was room for a compromise. He agreed to let his family make the T-shirts if they gave proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“That’s been a charity he kind of took under his wing and embraced, and he said, ‘If we’re going to do it, I’ll just match (the proceeds), and we’ll donate it to Make-A-Wish.’ So, we’re really hoping we’ll have enough for one wish. This is what Devin wants to do.”

From the crowd gathered at the field Wednesday night, it looks like the whole town is behind Devin’s wish.

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