DETROIT (WJBK) - During their visit Tuesday, members of the Dallas police honor guard attended the evening Tigers game at Comerica Park. A boy from Waterford was given an opportunity to meet his baseball heroes at the game, but instead - he wanted to meet the real-life heroes.
Mitchell Rebtoy is a 10-year-old that lives and breathes baseball. So when Tuesday night's Tigers game was coming down to the final out, you would think he would be in awe - and he was - but not by anything that was happening on the field.
Mitchell can appreciate a good pitch and already has a strong collection of autographs, but now he has one ball that really stands out.
"I said, 'Excuse me, you guys are the real heroes. Can you sign this baseball for me?'" Mitchell asked 13 officers of the Dallas Police Department.
"One of them said this is my first time ever signing a baseball," Mitchell says.
Thirteen autographs and 13 badge numbers with names you've likely never heard of, but they were important enough for a 10-year-old to ignore his passion to get.
"We almost missed the whole double play to end the game because he was getting autographs from the police officers," quipped his father, Mark. But it created a moment any parent would be proud of.
"For him to say 'Hey dad, those are the heroes that we always talk about; those are the people that we look up to. Can I go over there and get an autograph?' I was taken aback by it and I said of course you can, and it spiraled from there into something even larger," Mark says.
What neither of them knew is the impact this gesture would have on the officers.
"When I was talking to one of them, I don't want to say he almost broke down, but he did," Mark says. "He said, 'You have no idea what it's like to carry these caskets and go through what we are going through. The Dallas officers were in town to lay one of their own to rest, Officer Michael Krol, a Michigan native. His funeral was in Redford Township earlier on Tuesday, and he was buried in Southfield later that day.
Krol was one of five officers killed in the line of duty at the hands of a sniper at the protest in downtown Dallas earlier this month.
So a gesture like that from a 10-year-old boy clearly went a long way.
"One of them picked me up on their shoulders so we could get an even better picture," Mitchell says.
"To see their smiles, just to take a break and get the recognition that I think they deserve, and he was just so humbled about it and taken back by it," Mark says.
Mitchell and his dad spent roughly a half an hour taking pictures and talking with the officers from Dallas. That's long after the game was over, but hardly any one seemed to notice.