Thomas Hastings, who has Duchenne Muscular dystrophy and congenital scoliosis, knew exactly what he wanted when the wish granters from Make-A-Wish said he could have his biggest dream granted. Thomas, 10, of Windsor, Conn., wanted a baseball field built in his backyard so he could play ball with his friends. When Make-A-Wish found out Thomas is an avid Boston Red Sox fan, they worked with more than 40 vendors in his hometown to build a “Fantasy Fenwway Park” in Thomas’s backyard in just 34 days.
“Everything happened almost like magic,” Thomas’s father, Brad Hastings, told ABC News. “It’s really insane.”
The boy wanted his own baseball field because he does not have the energy or physical ability any longer to play on a Little League team. He spends nearly 50 percent of his time in a motorized wheelchair.
“That’s one of the things that was so great about his wish, it’s giving him back the ability to compete,” Hastings said. “His love for baseball is deep.”
Thomas, who falls asleep listening to baseball games, attended his first Red Sox game at Fenway at age three and threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game in 2014. He is an honorary member of the nearby University of Hartford’s baseball team. The team donated the bleachers that sit out in the outfield of Thomas’s Fenway Park.
The head groundskeeper at Fenway Park, Dave Mellor, visited Thomas, with his World Series rings, and helped arrange details like having the sod used in Thomas’s field be donated from the same New Jersey farm that makes sod for the Red Sox.
‘Nothing Here That Thomas Cannot Do’
Thomas drew up the plans himself, specifying that he wanted a completely flat field, with no raised bases or a pitcher’s mound.
The field contains regulation bases in addition to a 15-foot baseline that the boy is able to run on his own so he can play along with his friends and University of Hartford teammates.
Volunteers from the Windsor community also built a Green Monster with a 52-foot long deck and ramp for Thomas. There is also a bullpen in right field, scoreboard, stadium lights, press box, foul poles and even the Citgo sign that Red Sox fans well know.
“This is the coolest, most impractical thing I’ve ever seen,” Hastings said of the finished project. “There is nothing here that other people can do that Thomas cannot do.”
The Hastings held the opening game at their “Fantasy Fenway Park” on Saturday with hundreds of friends, family, neighbors, the University of Hartford baseball team and the contractors who built the field in attendance.
Thomas threw out the opening pitch and when he went up to bat, performed the same pre-bat routine as his favorite player, “Big Papi” David Ortiz.
“He was 100 percent in his element,” said Hastings of Thomas, who spent the entire weekend on the field. “Here’s a kid who gets so tired out and so worn down so easily and he was just running on pure adrenaline, so full of energy.”
Police from the town of Windsor volunteered their time on Saturday to do traffic control and drive shuttles that brought fans to the Hastings’ home. Hastings said his home is in a “typical suburban neighborhood” that now stands out.
Hastings, a Windsor native, and Make-A-Wish Connecticut President & CEO Pamela Keough both said it was the generosity of Windsor that got the field built.
“I’ve never been through anything like this before with Make-A-Wish,” Keough told ABC News. “We decided to reach out to the local community and that’s when it really started to snowball.”
Thomas, a fifth grader, even found it hard to go to school today, still brimming with excitement from his new backyard.
“This morning he said, ‘Dad, I just can’t go to school knowing that there’s a Fenway Park in my backyard,’” Hastings recalled.