After capturing the Penguin and the Riddler, and rescuing Lou Seal and a Damsel in Distress, Batkid sped away from San Francisco in the Batmobile, his mission accomplished. But he must be brought back for one more mission. Could there be a better time than April 8, to throw out the first pitch at the Giants home opener at AT&T Park? It would be a powerful way to start the year. It also would have the side benefit of easing security concerns for the big day, since any would-be villains would likely stay away once they realized Batkid was in the building.
The exploits of 5-year-old Miles Scott of Tulelake on Friday provided one of the most uplifting days for the city that this San Francisco native has ever seen. Miles has been battling leukemia since he was 20 months old, and now is in remission. The Make-A-Wish-Foundation, told of his love for super heroes, arranged an elaborate day with the help of the city of San Francisco and many volunteers. Miles, transformed into Batkid, and accompanied by his sidekick Batman, went on a crime-busting spree around the city as thousands of people watched with a mix of smiles and tears.
It got me to thinking: How did this five-year-old steal not only the hearts of San Franciscans, but those of millions around the world who followed the events through television reports and social media? The answer, I think, is how rare it is that a city, region or country can come together for something that is so pure and inspiring. We’re currently being inundated with stories of the JFK assassination as that tragedy nears its 50th anniversary, when the country was united in its grief and shock during that time of pain and loss. The country became united after 9/11, but again it was because of death and sadness. The presidential election is supposed to be a salute to our democracy, where Americans come together at one time to choose a leader, but the whole process has turned into a divisive process filled with hate and disrespect for the other side. Locally, on a more cheerful note, San Francisco has rallied as one with massive crowds to celebrate the World Series championships of the Giants in 2010 and 2012. But as fun as those two parties were, they were both cases of mostly common folk celebrating millionaire adults who play a game.
Enter Batkid, and Friday’s glorious day. It was so pure and innocent. Democrats and Republicans in the crowd together cheered on Batkid. For those who watched live or later in the media coverage, national, world or personal problems were put on hold. If there is a five-year-old in your life, be they a son or daughter, or in my case, a grandson, you said a prayer for Miles’ improving health and for the good health of your little one. I watched the coverage through watery eyes, remembering how my grandson likes to turn himself into Batman by lifting his arms to turn his jacket into a cape as he bolts down the sidewalk ready to defend Gotham.
Of course, there had to be someone who tried to rain on Batkid’s parade. The San Francisco Chronicle quoted San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar as wondering whether money spent on the Batkid could have been better used to aid a number of other needy kids. It’s almost too easy to label Mar as a knucklehead or The Grinch Who Stole Make-A-Wish Day, but because he has concern for the welfare of children who need help, I’ll forgive the reaction as an overreach of S.F. political correctness. And hey, maybe he reacted before getting the chance to think through the fact that this was one of the most heartwarming stories in his city that many of us who have been around for a while can recall.
Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. Miles touched almost every heart in San Francisco. C’mon Giants, put the Batkid on the mound for the Opening Day ceremonial pitch. And invite Supervisor Mar to catch it. If Mr. Mar shows up, I’ll tip my cap to him.