Here is one of those moments that makes you grin, feel good and forget about all the horribleness that happens on the Internet. Because sometimes it brings us things like this — a pro athlete interacting with a diehard fan and eventually brightening the lives of kids at a high school in Texas.
This is the story of a Houston Astros superfan who lives in Texas Rangers country, who teaches high school history and who promised his classes a pizza party if the Astros won the World Series — even though many of them weren’t Astros fans. But he was and he thought this was the year.
And it’s the story of one Astros player who saw a tweet about the pizza party, then answered with a few swipes on his phone and a little bit of money from his bank account to give those kids another party, because as he says, high school is “always better when you have a little extra fun.”
The player is Tyler White, the second-year Astros first baseman/outfielder, and the fan is James Yasko, who teaches 11th grade history at Waco High School. And this is how their paths crossed and what happened. Be warned, it might just make you smile.
Back when the Astros were slumping midseason, Yasko — who runs AstrosCounty.com and a fun Twitter account of the same name — told the students in his AP history class he’d buy everyone pizza if the Astros won the World Series.
Well, pizza day came and he sent out a tweet about it, joking to the Astros: “That’ll be $54, guys.”
— Thickie Don (@AstrosCounty) November 10, 2017
“I was messing around on Twitter,” Yasko told Yahoo Sports this week. “I wasn’t serious. It’s not like I missed my mortgage because I had to spend $50 on pizza. I was looking for the retweets and likes. I just wanted something funny on Twitter.”
It was fun, so the tweet spread around a bit. That’s when White’s girlfriend Alli saw it and pointed it out to him. So White replied with two simple words that immediately gained him massive credibility with Astros fans: “Got Venmo?”
— Tyler White (@twhite409) November 10, 2017
“I just saw the tweet and thought it would pretty cool if I offered to pay,” White told Yahoo Sports. “I just thought it was a nice and fun gesture.”
Yasko responded as you’d expect: OMG.
He tweeted back that morning: “If you’re serious, I’ll set up a Venmo account. These kids would flip if they found out a member of the World Champion Astros bought them pizza.”
Yasko didn’t hear from White the rest of the day and went to sleep early that night, but while he was sleeping, things started to take off.
Yasko woke up to a tweet from White that said: “Of course I’m serious.” Not only that, but a few other people on Twitter wanted to send money too. The whole thing had taken off and, hey, that was pretty cool.
So he set up a Venmo account and White sent the money along, but there was just one thing. Instead of paying himself back, he could do something else with the money, right?
“He had already bought the pizza,” White said. “Why don’t you let them have another good day?”
And that’s just what Yasko decided to do.
“It’s gonna be Tyler White Day,” he decided.
Yasko was excited to come to school and tell his students about what had happened. But guess what? They didn’t believe him.
His students, he says, aren’t exactly used to people doing nice things for them. Seventy-seven percent of the students at his school get free or reduced lunch, which is more than 20 percent higher than the state average and 30 percent higher than the national average.
“I had to screenshot the confirmation e-mail and projected it onto my board,” he said.
He also pulled up White’s page on Baseball Reference.
“This guy,” he told his students, “is actually doing this for y’all.”
Tyler White Day had arrived and Yasko decided it wasn’t just for his AP classes with whom he’d made the pizza deal. This would be for all his students.
With the money that White had sent plus the other donations, Yasko arrived with 15 dozen donuts and kolaches, milk and orange juice for his students. This is what followed:
— Samuel Barron (@sambam_29) November 15, 2017
Lol at my sad Rangers fan student throwing up the H (he let me take the picture) pic.twitter.com/RjIxtkHw7Z
— Thickie Don (@AstrosCounty) November 15, 2017
It was a small moment compared to some of the goodwill we see from big famous athletes. This wasn’t J.J. Watt raising millions of dollars for Houston hurricane relief. But it was still important and impactful. It still put smiles on the faces of kids, which is never ever a bad thing.
As for White, he told Yahoo Sports, he was just happy to have a cool moment with one Astros superfan and maybe some future Astros fans.
“Everything right now is all positive,” White said “For the fans and for us. Most teams lose their last game of the season. We were lucky enough to win the whole thing. Everybody’s on cloud nine and it’s a beautiful relationship between the fans and the players. They stuck with us for a long time, so it’s awesome to see them happy and to be able to help them out.”
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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