Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia hosted a youth baseball clinic at the MLB Urban Youth Academy on Saturday.
Along with Scioscia, Angels coaches Dino Ebel, Ron Roenicke, and Steve Soliz, as well as New York Yankees bullpen Coach Mike Harkey and former MLB player Kenny Landeaux shared their wisdom with the children at the clinic.
“All these guys have a great passion for the game and they have worked with youth baseball for years,” said Scioscia. “I think it’s easier for us to come out here and talk to the kids and hopefully give them something that they can get a little deeper understanding of this game.”
Coaches also held a discussion with the participants, talking about the fundamentals of baseball and proper habits for players at certain positions before breaking out into small groups. The children rotated between stations were they practiced throwing, base-running, catching and batting. Roenicke, a third base coach, instructed the children in outfield essentials. He believes mentorship is an important factor when coaching.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s little league, it doesn’t matter if it’s major league, whatever sport you’re in, that’s what your responsibility is,” said Roenicke. “For me, not only just in that sport, but mentor the kids in life and whatever comes up,”
The coaches showed kids the proper ways to hold a bat when swinging and they emphasized the importance of being competitive at all times, having the correct balance in pitching and being constantly alert when playing in the outfield.
Harkey’s main objective was to ensure that participants play the game the right way.
“What they see on TV, it can be misconstrued sometimes,” said Harkey. “A lot of times, they don’t understand a lot of the Major League players they see started out doing all the fundamentals that we want them to start doing before they develop their own style.”
The Youth Academy is a component of the MLB’s Urban Youth Initiative. The Academy serves 5000 members, according to Academy Senior Manager Rodney Davis.
“The way that the game of baseball is taught at the Major League level has no peer,” said Davis. “To have Major League coaches that teach and instruct and mentor the finest baseball players in the world on our campus and interacting with our community is a great blessing.”