J.P. Arencibia has ensured that Matt Harvey's start to the Blue Jays' 2013 season will get off on the right foot. Harvey is a self-proclaimed diehard fan who has been closely following the team since the early '90s. He's also autistic and had to suffer through years of bullying before reaching his adult life. The 31-year-old's story was recently featured in an article on the Canadian Baseball Network, and when Arencibia got wind of everything Harvey went through, he reacted quickly by sending him a pair of tickets to Toronto's season opener on April 2 against the Indians. "He always tweets at us and he has always been one of the guys that has been inspirational," Arencibia said. "He's always writing positive stuff and I didn't realize to the extent until I got to read his story. It kind of hit me and I think there's zero tolerance for bullying. "When you look into a lot of problems that come about with kids that have issues or insecurities, it comes from bullies. I have the ability to take care of him, make him be there on Opening Day and I figured it was something I could do." Harvey was completely caught off guard when Arencibia tweeted earlier this week: "I have two tickets for you! The bullies can watch it from home, you won't have to!" In some ways, it was like a dream come true for Harvey, a native of St. Catharines, Ontario. Arencibia has been Harvey's favorite player for the past three years in particular because of the way he treats his fans. Arencibia is notorious for spending a lot of time posing for pictures and signing autographs. During the Grapefruit League season he can often be found down the right-field line where a group of Blue Jays supporters congregate near the team's clubhouse. That never went unnoticed by Harvey, who has made the trip to Florida before. Harvey also has a lot of respect for the way Arencibia appears to play with emotion and the fact that he has a lot of power -- especially for a catcher -- certainly doesn't hurt, either. "J.P. doing this is really truly amazing, it's hard to even explain," Harvey said. "I am still so stunned and thankful because it's so kind and sweet and shows why I like J.P. I plan on getting a jersey of his out of respect.
Arencibia surprises autistic fan with tickets
MLB.com | Feb 26