D-backs first pitch honors young man killed at air show

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PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games were always a favorite for Anne Wogan mother and her four sons.  Last month, one of the boys was killed when a plane crashed at a Reno airplane race.  Tuesday, they returned to the field with a chance to honor Michael Wogan.

“Tonight we would like to have Michael’s mother, Anne, throw out the ceremonial first pitch,” came the announcer's voice over the speakers at Chase Field.

Anne Wogan walked into the bright lights and looked to the heavens as thousands of eyes focused on this mother of four. She kissed the ball and then threw it to reliever Brad Ziegler to start the game, but more importantly, to honor her son, Michael.

Brothers Jonny, James and Bill joined their mother on the field.

“[I was] completely overwhelmed,” she said after it was over.  “They have been so generous already, Derrick Hall and the organization.  An incredible blessing to our family.”

Michael Wogan was in the crowd at the Reno Air Show last month when a vintage plane dove out of control into the stands.

The 22-year-old Arizona State graduate was an achiever despite having muscular dystrophy and being confined to a wheel chair.  He had a Web development company and helped run a non-profit organization

According to his brothers, Michael's motto was simple: "The only disability is a bad attitude."

“He didn't want to waste any time, just wanted to keep moving. [He was] so inspirational to everybody,” Jonny said in September.

“He was just really strong and motivated,” James said that same day.  “He wanted to take charge of his life.  He didn't want anything to hold him back and he really didn't. He just kept going, didn't stop.”

It was a rare chance to say a public thank you to the community, and get close to the team Michael loved.

“We were so honored,” Anne said.  “We know Michael is here with us and how happy he would be, how happy he is right now, knowing we are all here together at one of his favorite places.”

The Diamondbacks renamed their season ticket scholarship program after Michael Wogan.