They may be brawling on the field, but players with the Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies are playing for the same team when it comes to seeing the recovery of 9-year-old Pennsylvanian Ryan White, who was in critical condition after being struck by an allegedly drunk driver on Mission Street following Thursday night’s game.
Players from both teams have been busy signing memorabilia, including baseballs, which will be presented to Ryan when his family is ready to receive visitors, according to Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter.
“We’ll deliver [the gifts] at the appropriate time. But for now, the most important thing is to respect the family’s wishes to have some space for a while,” said Slaughter, who visited with Ryan and his family Friday at San Francisco General Hospital on behalf of the Giants and the Phillies. “There was a media storm on Friday, and [the family was] ambushed by television reporters, which was very stressful for them.”
White, his brother and their parents — Phillies fans from Yardley, Pa. — were visiting San Francisco and had just watched the Phillies beat the Giants when the accident occurred. The driver, 21-year-old Andrew Vargas of Hayward, was driving drunk, according to police, and fled the scene. He was arrested late Thursday night in Hayward. Ryan’s aunt, from Granite Bay, suffered a minor foot injury in the crash.
Sympathy and support for Ryan is coming from multiple sources. Before Friday night’s game at AT&T Park, a brief moment of silence was observed in the boy’s honor.
At Lefty O’Doul’s sports bar, a benefit lunch hour will be held Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m. with half of all proceeds going to the White family. The restaurant’s owner, Nick Bovis, plans to have several former Giants players at Lefty O’Doul’s. At his Burlingame location, Broadway Grill, Bovis will be holding a similar fundraising event. People may also donate to the White family via the Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids — and for all donations up to $1,000, the nonprofit will match the gift.