The San Francisco Giants fan beaten outside Dodger Stadium on Thursday threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the home opener for the San Jose Giants, a team where he used to be a paramedic before he was left brain damaged in the attack four years ago.
"It's a comeback story," said Dan Orum, president and CEO of the San Jose Giants, who faced off against the Bakersfield Blaze on Thursday. "Just to see what he's come through, and to be able to give him something back like this — it's just the kind of thing that resonates with everybody."
Orum was talking about Bryan Stow's story. The former Santa Cruz paramedic, now 46, was left severely brain-damaged after the attack in Los Angeles in 2011. But the father of two plans to get up from his wheelchair Thursday and make his way onto the field using a walker -- and then throw the pitch.
"I'm excited about it," Stow told the Mercury News in a recent interview where he spoke clearly, coherently albeit a bit slowly. He added that hopefully "I'll do good job."
The San Jose Giants are a minor league baseball team, and the farm team for the San Francisco Giants since 1988. Last year, Stow hollered "Play ball" during Game 4 of the World Series between the Giants and the Kansas City Royals.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Stow $18 million from the Dodgers and his assailants in 2014, although his family has yet to receive any of it. Two men, Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood, pleaded guilty to charges from the attack including mayhem and assault. Sanchez received eight years in prison, Norwood was sentenced to four years.
Orum said that Stow used to work at the San Jose Giants games a while back, and when he was injured in Los Angeles the team "made a commitment to his children that when he got well, he could come back and throw out the first pitch. And that day has come."
Stow had come a long way since the attack. He came out of a coma, spent many years in a wheelchair, but is now able to walk and stand with a walker for short periods of time. He recently threw balls to his father, Dave, in his parent's Capitola backyard. In his interview with the Mercury News, he was quite coherent, but it was also clear he suffers some memory loss and concentration.
To learn more about Stow and contribute to his ongoing medical care, click here.