They play the sport for the fun, the fame and the money.

Thursday night at Rogers Centre, the Toronto Blue Jays also played it for Ryley James Martin.

Ryley was just 21/2 when he died of leukemia on Wednesday. His family lives in Oshawa, Ont.

Last month at Rogers Centre, Ryley and his parents were invited onto the field before a game where the critically ill young boy won the hearts of both Ricky Romero and J.P. Arencibia with his huge spirit and irrepressible smile.

The two players played with the boy for about 20 minutes, tossed a baseball back and forth and helped him swing a bat. It was a simple deed with ever-lasting affects.

On Thursday, when he arrived at Rogers Centre to prepare for his start that night against the Rays, Romero learned that Ryley had died.

In a heartfelt moment that went largely unnoticed just before Romero delivered the game's first pitch to Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Toronto pitcher bent over at the back of the mound and traced the boys initials in the mound with his finger.

For the rest of the game Romero said he drew strength from that simple gesture and it helped him turn in a dominating performance in what was a 3-2 Toronto victory.