A local Dodgers fan not only lives and breathes Dodger Blue, he now wears the Dodgers logo on his prosthetic legs.
Soon, Santa Maria resident Mark Andersen is going to be recognized by the Dodgers in a huge way. He will be taking the mound at Dodger Stadium to throw out the first pitch on May 6.
Andersen’s friends and family hope his story will inspire other people facing adversity.
Andersen can still remember the first Dodgers game he went to with his dad.
“Billy Grabarkewitz stole home. That was amazing, and I still remember it to this day. Every game you go to something happens and it’s just great,” Andersen said.
Andersen and his dad tried to make it to at least one game a year, a tradition he’s carried on with his children now that his dad has passed away.
“I was born into it. He was a huge Dodger fan and I’m a daddy’s girl so instantly, Dodgers were my team,” said Megan Andersen, Mark’s daughter.
When it came time for Andersen to get new prosthetic legs, he says there was no other design better than the Dodgers logo.
“I said, ‘Hey, throw the Dodgers on there’ and they look good,” Mark said.
Inspired by Mark’s tenacity, one of the employees of the prosthetics office where Mark received his legs decided to contact the Dodgers.
“I realized he likes the Dodgers and I decided after that, I wonder if there’s a way to let the Dodgers know about them and that’s where it started,” said Keith Severson.
To their surprise, the Dodgers replied and invited Mark to throw out the first pitch at their game against the Braves.
“I had no idea that they had even done it so they presented it to me at a fitting at the doctor’s and shocked is the best way to describe it,” Mark said.
“It’s amazing. It’s just so exciting to see him being excited about it. He’s really humble about it. He doesn’t let you know he’s excited but I can tell he is,” Megan said.
Mark is a little nervous.
“Absolutely scared to death. All my old ballplayer buddies told me I better not bounce the ball,” he said.
His friends and family say there’s no one more deserving.
“There are a lot of people out there with physical disabilities and Mark is one of those who is a double amputee but he’s still out there living his life. He’s still out there pushing, moving forward and it’s not always easy. As an amputee myself, I can say it’s hard at times but Mark’s really been persevering and moving forward,” Severson said.
You can catch Mark throwing the first pitch ahead of the Dodgers playing the Braves May 6.
Mark originally lost his legs in a boating accident on Lake Nacimiento nearly 20 years ago. He just received his new prosthetics with the Dodgers logo last month.