Oakland A’s tap Rancho Cordova man to throw first pitch opening night

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The past year has not been easy on Justin Wilhite and his family.

“I don’t want to cry, to be alive is pretty cool man,” Wilhite said. “I’ll do something and it hurts so bad. Or I can’t breathe and that’s just a normal Tuesday.”

Last March, the now 40-year-old from Rancho Cordova tested positive for the coronavirus, one of the first cases in the area.

He’s had heavy complications ever since.

“Post-acute COVID syndrome, or something like that,” Wilhite explained.

Throughout his struggles, the husband and father of three has relied on his family for support.

After posting a picture when he first became ill, Wilhite also received encouragement from strangers around the world. 

“Kazakhstan and all of Eastern Europe,” he told FOX40.

Then, it got personal in a great way for the massive A’s fan.

After posting the picture, Wilhite was asked by Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team’s Opening Night.

“Both times I was sleeping and both times my boys were so excited they woke me up,” Wilhite said.

Well the time has nearly arrived. More specifically, next Thursday when the Athletics host the Astros.

The A’s and their president gave FOX40 the following statement about their excitement for that first pitch:

We are excited to welcome Justin to Opening Night to throw out our ceremonial first pitch. We couldn’t think of a more deserving fan to honor on our first game back.

“Oh man, if I bounce it there are so many guys that are going to bust me up on Twitter,” Wilhite said.

Wilhite is now part of a nonprofit to help people dealing with COVID-19.

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