Gabe Kapler shares tribute to Phillies fan who died in Ethiopian Airlines crash
Matt Vecere was one of the victims in an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash earlier this month which claimed the lives of all 157 people on board. Vecere was a Phillies fan, and, according to a story shared via Twitter by Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler, he just happened to be one of the people who informed Kapler of Bryce Harper’s signing.
When reports first surfaced of Harper’s record 13-year, $330 million deal with his new team, the Phillies were playing a spring training game with Kapler standing in the dugout. Kapler said he first found out about the deal through fans yelling at him from the stands. Vecere was one of them.
“Many of you heard the way I learned about Bryce’s signing,” Kapler tweeted. “Fans sitting behind our dugout shared the news as they were checking their phones. One of those fans was Matt Vecere. I know his name because two of his friends reached out to me. They told me how Matt shouted, ‘Bat him third and he’ll give you 90 runs.’ They reached out because Matt was one of the 157 people killed on board Ethiopian Airlines 302.”
Kapler continued by sharing some of Vecere’s story and paying tribute to the late Phillies fan.
“Matt was going to Kenya for the United Nations Environment Assembly,” he wrote. “Matt was passionate about getting air and water filters to underprivileged communities and had a particular love for Haiti after doing work over there many years. To honor Matt, I’m asking that you consider doing something for a cause Matt cared about. His mother described those as ‘the environment, civil rights, social and environmental justice, and advocating for those less fortunate.’
“Baseball brings people together,” Kapler continued, “but Matt strove for bigger causes than what we do every day. As he loved the Phillies, I hope the community can return that love.”