Boy left in tears after deployed father surprises him at game - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Boy left in tears after deployed father surprises him at Royals game


One of the highlights of Tuesday night's Royals game against the Dodgers came before the players took the field.

Austin Sides, 11, threw out the first pitch and then came the big surprise. Underneath the catcher's mask was his dad, just back from a year's deployment overseas.

Austin and his dad Robert haven't been able to play catch for a long time. Maj. Robert Sides is in the United States Air Force. Last year around Father's Day he left for a yearlong deployment in the Mideast. Almost immediately he knew he wanted to do something special when he got back.

"Before I deployed we went to an Angels-Royals game, so I'm like ‘let's pick up where we left off' and I'm like how better could that be than a first pitch at a Royals game," Robert Sides said.

He got in touch with the Royals and, a few weeks later, got the go ahead. He knew he couldn't keep his plan a complete secret.

"Becky, my wife, I let her know. Because she already said if I tried any type of surprise reunion with her she'd kill me and I believed her," he said.

Tuesday night came the big moment.

"I'd been hiding the whole time in the dugout and I actually got to see him. I had the mask on, but I had tears rolling down my face and I was like ‘I just got to catch this ball,'" Robert Sides said. "I remember looking and he just dropped his jaw and then he started walking to me, I was trying to maintain, be cool and calm. You have 25,000 people looking at you so I was like ‘Okay, don't lose it.' I didn't want all my friends on Facebook to rib me. But then when we embraced I lost it, he lost it. It was great." 

As for Austin, he's just glad he didn't take a classmate's advice.

"He (my classmate) told me I should purposely throw it really bad so I would get on ESPN and I said no," he said.

Robert Sides wants to thank the Royals and the fans for the incredible response he received at Tuesday night's game. He'll be re-deploying again in about a month, but this time it's to Omaha, NE, and the whole family will be going with him.

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