MLB.com Columnist

Megan Zahneis

Teen cancer survivors treated to World Series

Teen cancer survivors treated to World Series

CHICAGO -- Ted Shapiro couldn't have scripted it any better.

The 19-year-old Northbrook, Ill., native was on hand Saturday night to witness his beloved Cubs face Corey Kluber's Indians in Game 4 of the World Series, which the Indians won, 7-2, to take a 3-1 lead in the Fall Classic.

• Game 5: Sunday, 8 p.m. ET on FOX

Game Date Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 25 CLE 6, CHC 0 video
Gm 2 Oct. 26 CHC 5, CLE 1 video
Gm 3 Oct. 28 CLE 1, CHC 0 video
Gm 4 Oct. 29 CLE 7, CHC 2 video
Gm 5 Oct. 30 CHC 3, CLE 2 video
Gm 6 Nov. 1 CHC 9, CLE 3 video
Gm 7 Nov. 2 CHC 8 CLE, 7 (10) video

Shapiro had a role to play: appearing on the field before the sixth inning for baseball's Stand Up to Cancer moment, alongside AJ Smallwood, 17, of Flowery Branch, Ga.

• Shop for World Series gear: Cubs | Indians

Shapiro and Smallwood are well-suited for the role. They're both cancer survivors: Shapiro was diagnosed with osteosarcoma during his senior year in high school and was recently found to be in remission, while Smallwood was declared free of testicular cancer about a year ago.

"It was a shock to the system," Shapiro said, "but it's just amazing what the support of a community and people around you do for you. It's amazing that I'm able to stand here today, and I'm just loving life right now."

Both are diehard baseball fans -- Smallwood, a pitcher and outfielder, hopes to play college ball and relies on the sport to ground him.

"Baseball is the one thing I go to just to free my mind, clear my head, and it's just always been there," Smallwood said. "This experience has been crazy. It's the best in the world, and I'm glad I get to see it."

"This experience," of course, was Game 4, which Smallwood and Shapiro attended as guests of the Cubs through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

They spent time in Commissioner Rob Manfred's Wrigley Field suite before heading to the dugout, Stand Up to Cancer signs in hand, to partake in one of the Series' most meaningful moments.

Smallwood, a Braves fan, lined up with Indians players and coaches, while Shapiro, who's now studying at Indiana University, took his place in front of the Cubs' dugout.

Both teens got to meet players during batting practice before the game, an opportunity Smallwood says he'll remember forever.

"That was inspirational, just really talking to them and seeing how they're doing and how they feel about being in the World Series," Smallwood said.

As a Georgia native, he was most excited to meet former Brave Jason Heyward, while Shapiro felt a bond with Jon Lester, who beat anaplastic large cell lymphoma early in his career.

But for Shapiro, just being in the Friendly Confines was more than enough.

"It's been 70-plus years since the Cubs have been to a World Series, 108 since we won a World Series," Shapiro said. "Getting the opportunity to see them being in the World Series live, the atmosphere is incredible. It's indescribable."

Megan Zahneis is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.