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First Pitch For Diego

Apr 19, 2014, 2:09 PM PDT

I remember being shocked to see the bits of shattered glass still remaining at the scene of the accident on Appian Way and Marlesta Road. I was there to record video of the memorial for Diego Garcia, a life-long A’s fan that was tragically killed by a suspected drunk driver.

The gravity of the situation quickly sank in, and it was hard to fight back overwhelming emotions upon laying eyes on the green and gold ribbons, balloons, and stuffed animals left by people at the scene.

I could only imagine the pain and grief the Garcia family dealt with after losing Diego, but I didn’t have to wonder how it felt for long. Shortly after showing up, two more people arrived at the crash site and asked if I was a friend of Diego’s. Those two people were Marcos Garcia and Vanessa Garcia-Contreras, siblings of Diego. They happened to drive by, and decided to join me.

They explained that Diego was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver that swerved across several lanes, before ricocheting off another car and striking Diego on the sidewalk. It was a routine jog, one that he made almost every day. Since the accident occurred on a main road near their house, they have to drive by the location daily. Instead of shying away from the tragic site, they choose to stop there regularly to share memories of their brother.

They never knew how many people would rally to support them. The striking image of the pallbearers at Diego’s funeral wearing A’s jerseys quickly went viral in the fan community, and a movement started organically online asking the A’s to let Marcos throw out a first pitch in memory of Diego. After A’s reliever Sean Doolittle championed the cause, the A’s organization stepped up for the Garcia family and made it happen. Doolittle and his girlfriend, Eireann Dolan, even sent the Garcias a hand-written card.

It was truly touching to see the A’s fans, and their heroes on the field, get behind a fallen brother, they didn’t even know personally. It clearly meant the world to the Garcias.

The Garcia family was incredibly brave to open up to us as they dealt with an unthinkable tragedy. They are kind, compassionate, and humble people, and it was an absolute honor to help tell their story.

If Diego’s story impacts you in any way, they aren’t asking for money or publicity. They simply want you to stop by the First Pitch for Diego Facebook page, where you can learn about their new campaign called: Post Cards for Diego.

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