Something special is on tap at tonight in Oakland as the A's take on the New York Yankees at O.Co Stadium that will honor a sick child in the midwest.
For the first time in Major League Baseball history, the first pitch will be done with the help of a telerobotic pitching machine, which means the person doing the pitching will physically be 1,800 miles away in Kansas City, Missouri.
The person at the other end of the telerobotic Google Android app is 13-year-old Nick LeGrande, who is a star baseball player in his little league and a big fan of both the A's and the Yankees.
Nick hasn't been able to get out to any baseball games since being diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a life-threatening blood disorder. His doctors said his immune system means he can't be in large crowds.
His mom said the only time he had cried through his medical troubles was when the doctor told him he couldn't play baseball this season.
Nick will throw the first pitch inside a miniature stadium Google built in KC (which includes real grass, dirt and bleachers). His movements will activate a pitching machine placed on the mound in Oakland. The app is suppposed to mimic his pitch exactly and throw the ball as if Nick was there.
The pitch will be caught by A's reliever Ryan Cook who helped put this all together thanks to a contact he has with Google fiber optics in Kansas City.
A video tribute of LeGrande will also play on the Coliseum scoreboard before he throws out the pitch, and afterward he and Cook will talk via satelite.
Google fiber picked Kansas City, Kansas as its test market and hooked up the entire city with free high speed internet
: When we think of the power of the Internet and the importance of broadband connectivity to our communities, it’s easy to just think of sending email or watching videos. But high-bandwidth applications on the web have made a host of other amazing things possible — for example, the field of telerobotics, or the ability to control robots over long distances using the web. That’s how tonight, using a specially-designed, web-connected pitching robot, Nick LeGrande will throw the first-ever telerobotic pitch in MLB history.