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Local News

July 13, 2013

Local fan gets big-league welcome

Gary Doherty of West Oneonta is a Yankees fan. 

Joanne Krut said she knows Doherty is a fan because he wears Yankees attire. And once, when Doherty lost a bet and had to wear a Boston Red Sox hat for a day, he knocked it off about 50 times, she said.

“He is the hugest Yankees fan I ever met,” she said.

Krut met Doherty, who is disabled, through her work as a school bus monitor and said she dreamed of taking Doherty to a game at Yankee Stadium. On Tuesday, that years-old dream came true, thanks to the Yankees organization and staffer Carol Laurenzano, who rolled out the carpet for a visit that included much more than nine innings.

“I was just so excited I could get Gary there,” Krut said Wednesday.

Doherty was thrilled to go to Yankee stadium and watch a game, his mother, Diane Doherty of Gilbertsville, said Thursday. The only thing that would have made it “more perfect” was a winning score by the Yankees, she said.

On Tuesday, the Yankees lost to the Kansas City Royals, 3 to 1.

Doherty, 24, who has cerebral palsy, is of normal intelligence but is in a body “that doesn’t work well for him,” his mother said. He cannot stand, walk or use his hands, she said, and he lives in a group home in West Oneonta. He has difficulty speaking, though has “truly wonderful” facial expressions when happy, she said.

He hasn’t complained about his condition, she said, and his positive outlook and spirit inspire others to help make life better for him.

“I never met anyone who didn’t love his enthusiasm for life,” she said.

An interview with Gary Doherty couldn’t be arranged Thursday during the day.

Doherty and Krut said they didn’t tell Gary about the planned trip for fear that he wouldn’t sleep the night before. Then at about 10 a.m. Tuesday, the van left for New York City, and it returned at about 2 a.m. Wednesday.

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