Back in June, the Toronto Blue Jays stopped into my hometown of New York City for a series against the Yankees. And that gave me the chance to visit the Blue Jays clubhouse and ask many of them about tips they have for young baseball players. I actually spent two days talking to players for what was one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had as a journalist.
The first day, I met star pitcher and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. I talked to him about his Cy Young season, how to throw a knuckleball, and more. Here is the video of the interview:
After interviewing Dickey, I went down to the Blue Jays’ dugout for batting practice. There, I got two interviews. First up was slugger Jose Bautista. I asked him about what has led to his success over the past few seasons, and tips for kids. Here is what he had to say:
The interview with Joey Bats happened the day he collected his 1,000th career hit, an RBI double in the eighth inning. Good timing!
Finally, before batting practice ended, I caught up with Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus, a player who is not only fast but powerful, too. Here is what he had to say about that combination and what kids can do to be powerful and fast, too:
My first day wrapped up with watching the game and reporting from the Yankee Stadium press box. It was amazing to see the players I had just met in the dugout out, at home plate, and on the field, and to hear journalists talk about their opinions about the games.
Day two at the ballpark was just as exciting as the first. I began by interviewing Jays infielder Steve Tolleson. Tolleson reminded kids about the importance of really enjoying the game:
I also caught up with Toronto’s catcher, Josh Thole, who gave some insight about how critical practice is for kids, both on and off the field:
My final interview was an unexpected one. Joe Torre is someone who is known for his career as a manager, but who was attending the game in his current role as MLB’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. Torre was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame recently, and I spoke with him about that honor and baseball tips for kids.
It was exciting to get the point of view of players and to learn what they feel is most important for kids like us to keep in mind. I learned a lot about how to improve but also how to keep seeing things from the kid’s perspective from these players, and I hope you did, too.
Max Mannis is a special correspondent for sikids.com and a member of SABR. Catch his posts on advanced baseball statistics. To learn more about SABR and to join, visit www.sabr.org.