After helping an Ohio couple with a gender reveal in May, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis held their baby girl for the first time Thursday at his annual locker clean out giveaway.
Kipnis had helped Josh and Erica Smith reveal the gender of their baby by hitting a baseball filled with pink powder at Progressive Field at the beginning of the season. The couple brought their newborn to Kipnis' annual shoe toss event where he signed autographs for nearly two hours and gave fans cleats, bats, caps, baseballs and bobbleheads.
Josh and Erica Smith are preparing to welcome their first child!— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) May 6, 2019
They wanted some help with the gender reveal, and @TheJK_Kid stepped up to the plate ...
(via @Tossincheese) pic.twitter.com/WR84gPCB2R
“It’s something I’m just happy to do,” Kipnis said (via Cleveland's WKYC Studios). “When you see the turnout like this growing every year, it gets bigger and you start to recognize more and more people, it just becomes fun.
“Some of these people, whether it’s in my daily life of seeing them out at a store or they sent me a nice message, they can really lift me up. It’s nice. It’s a smile, handshake and a signature to give back. That’s easy enough for me.”
According to Cleveland.com, Kipnis saw the Smiths and made sure to greet them once the event was over, taking photos and doting over the infant.
While Kipnis' event happens every year, this one was a bit different as there's uncertainty around his future with Cleveland. Kipnis will become a free agent at the end of the playoffs after the Indians declined his $16.5 million option for 2020.
“I can’t tell you how many just really nice messages I’ve gotten lately, people who have stopped me to say nothing more than just ‘Thank You.’ That really does hit home. That means a lot to me," Kipnis said. "They’re like, ‘We really don’t want to take up your time. We really just want to say, “Thank You.”’ That gets me a little bit. I’ve loved this city and it’s for reasons like that.”