ATLANTA -- Students at Pickett's Mill Elementary School in nearby Acworth, Ga., received a welcome surprise on Thursday morning, when Braves infielder Gordon Beckham appeared on a television screen and invited a young boy named Connor Meadows and his family to attend Thursday night's game against the Phillies at Turner Field.
"I was just like very surprised," Meadows said. "I did not know what was going on."
The Braves, in conjunction with Make-A-Wish Georgia, granted Meadows' wish to attend a game and interact with some of the coaches and players. The 9-year-old boy sat with manager Fredi Gonzalez during his pregame media session, played catch with Mallex Smith in the bullpen and spent some time interacting with Beckham on Atlanta's bench.
"He told me his favorite part of the [stadium] was the kitchen," Gonzalez said. "He liked the cookies and chips."
Meadows was diagnosed in 2014 with Wilms' tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer that was discovered after a tumor exploded while he was playing baseball. He underwent radiation and six months of chemotherapy treatment after his kidney was removed. This surprise trip to Turner Field was made one year after he was deemed cancer free.
After receiving the invitation from Beckham, Meadows participated in his school's field day and then boarded the Fox Sports Fan Express bus that brought him and his family members to Turner Field to partake in pregame activities and enjoy the game.
"Kids are the reason everybody plays this game," said Beckham, a suburban Atlanta native. "Everybody grows up wanting to be a big leaguer. You watch these guys [as a kid] and think how cool it would be if you were out there. It never gets old for me to be able to hang out with guys from around my hometown. It's been a lot of fun with Connor."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.