Miracle League of Sioux City athlete called up to throw first pitch at Kansas City Royals game

Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The game of catch is one that many of us enjoy, but one that we all might take for granted.

One athlete with the Miracle League of Sioux City has inspired others by not letting his limitations slow him down and now hopes to bring that joy to the MLB.

On a typical Sunday one can find Kayden Schmidt playing baseball with the Miracle League of Sioux City, and on Thursday, Sept. 22, he’ll live out a dream of playing baseball at a Major League ballpark, showing the world that baseball is for everyone.

Kayden uses a device called the WHAC, standing for Wanna Have A Catch. The name was inspired by Miracle League director Kevin Neegard’s year-long campaign of playing catch every single day.

The WHAC is a mechanical throwing arm device that Dustin Rhoades made for his son Kayden, so he could throw the ball by simply turning his head.

“He just loves it. And when we released the WHAC originally, as soon as you could get it to reset he was throwing the ball again. So we just know his love of baseball is there,” said Dustin Rhoades, WHAC Throwing Device Creator, Kayden’s father.

Kayden Schmidt gets ready to throw the ball with his WHAC throwing device
Kayden Schmidt gets ready to throw the ball with his WHAC throwing device(KTIV)

Kayden was born with a rare brain condition that limits the motion of his body. Thanks to his dad and his creation with Ability Tech, Kayden has continued to show off his love for the game. After a little practice with the Miracle League of Sioux City, now, even the big leagues have come calling.

“We were at home, and I just received a message via Twitter from one of the communication guys with the Royals, and he wanted to reach out and offer us to come in to do the first pitch,” said Rhoades.

On Thursday afternoon, Kayden will use the special device to throw out the first pitch for the Kansas City Royals game against the Minnesota Twins.

“It was one of those unbelievable moments. It’s one of those you almost didn’t believe it to be true right away,” said Rhoades.

And as Kayden takes the mound in front of an MLB crowd, his family hopes his pitch will remind the world that there are endless possibilities for those who never give up.

“Baseball is America’s greatest pastime and there’s room for everybody, no matter their limitations. And this right here just proves that. Kayden’s out there proving that, ‘Look at me because I’m very limited on what I do does not mean that we get to be left out of the game of baseball.’ And we just want to open that door to so many other kids and adults that currently don’t have that opportunity,” said Rhoades.

Rhoades first released the WHAC throwing device back in May. He also has a Switch Hitter which is a bat device that allows Kayden and other athletes to hit the baseball. He is working on making all devices available through his company Ability Tech.