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Archive for Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Royals teach kids tools of trade at youth clinic

Ex-pros help youngster learn fundamentals

July 21, 2004

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Local baseball players had an opportunity to learn how to play the game like a big leaguer July 17 at Hoglund Ballpark.

Former Kansas City Royals players such as Brian McRae, Ed Hearn, and John Mayberry spent the morning giving pointers to area youth as part of the Royals' Baseball Youth Clinic.

Mayberry, a Royals Hall of Famer, opened the session by discussing common mistakes he has seen in young hitters, such as "stepping in the bucket."

He also led participants in lessons about base running. Mayberry is no stranger to passing on his baseball knowledge. His son, John Jr., plays baseball at Stanford University.

"It was a great opportunity for players who have played baseball at the highest level to relate their experiences to these kids," said Mike Hill, Free State High School head baseball coach and father of clinic participant, Matthew.

Kids aged 5 to 12 spent most of the clinic rotating around stations featuring former Royals who taught the participants aspects of the game.

Hearn, former catcher for the Royals and the New York Mets, taught players basic catching techniques and how to be safe behind the plate. Former Royals outfielder Brian McRae worked with the attendees on proper fielding techniques. There were also sessions on pitching and outfielding, with FSHS baseball players assisting.

Announcer Fred White contributed to the Royals atmosphere as the emcee of the morning.

Parents were able to take part in the action as well. They speckled the field, taking notes on pointers the players were giving to their children and taking advantage of the opportunity to be around former professional baseball players.

The highlight for many was the autograph session at the camp's conclusion.

"Whether you are 5 or 35, it's a treat to be around major leaguers," Hill said.

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