CINCINNATI -- Holding a pristine white baseball and a marker on Friday, 14-year-old Wyatt Hildebrecht awaited one of his idols on the field during Reds batting practice. It was right fielder Jay Bruce, who signed Hildebrecht's ball and Reds cap. Bruce also handed over his batting gloves, also autographed.
It was a nice boost for Hildebrecht, who is from Lynchburg, Ohio. On March 25, he was wounded in the head during an accidental shooting and left permanently blind.
"I'm excited because Jay Bruce is my favorite," Hildebrecht said. "I love the Reds. I played baseball, so this is big."
Hildebrecht's pastor wrote to the Reds, who invited him for a night at Great American Ball Park as part of the club's "special wishes" program. The boy was also visited by players Scott Rolen and Todd Frazier, among others. Hildebrecht can no longer play baseball, but is trying to find other sports that can fill his need to compete.
"I used to swim competitively when I was seven, against nine-year olds and win," Hildebrecht said. "So I am trying to get back into that as my sport."