If former Toronto Blue Jays stars want to help young baseball players take their game to the next level Lucas Park is all game.
Park, a 12-year-old Grade 6 student at Humber Elementary, is looking forward to participating in a Toronto Blue Jays Honda Summer Camp July 24-25 at Jubilee Field. Former Blue Jays Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar — arguably the most popular player in the history of the Major League Baseball franchise — his father Sandy Alomar Sr., Duane Wade and Lloyd Moseby will be on hand to provide the instruction to the budding boys and girls from local minor baseball associations in western Newfoundland.
Park was fortunate enough to make the trek to St. John’s to participate in last year’s camp held in the capital city, where there will be another one this summer slated for July 28-29.
“I learned a lot last year when I went to St. John’s and it’s really cool to learn from some of the former superstars like Roberto Alomar and all them,” Park said earlier this week after being immersed in a pitching and hitting clinic at Jubilee Field.
He never watched Alomar and company hone their skills at the major league level for the obvious reason, but he enjoyed having a chance to chat with Alomar in a one-on-one setting last year and got to pick up a few pointers from all the coaches on hand to put the youngsters through their paces.
He believes he can become a better player by learning from those who have paved the way in the game.
“They give you tips on everything that can help you improve your game,” he said.
Park likes to pitch, catch and is willing to play any spot in the field if his coach asks him. He just wants to spend his summer days spanking singles and scooping up grounders with his buddies. He has been playing the game since he was four years ago, with most of his skillset being honed under the Corner Brook summer baseball program after the Park family moved to Corner Brook from Northwest Territories.
Having a chance to spend a weekend with players from a team he cheers for is a cool thing from his vantage point. He understands that some of his friends didn’t make it to St. John’s for the camp, but he doesn’t see any reason why the numbers won’t be pretty good when there is no travel to worry about with the show in their backyard.
“I’m telling them to do it because it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “If it’s here more people from here can go to it.”
One of the most memorable moment about last year was meeting the players, but getting a new glove compliments of the Blue Jays was really the icing on the cake for some of the players like Park. It actually panned out pretty good for him because he actually came home with two gloves instead of one.
There was a problem with the webbing in the first glove he was given and attempts to straighten it out failed so Roberto Alomar told him he would get another one sent out in the mail as quick as possible. True to his word, Park received his glove in the mail only a week after.
But, Alomar also let him keep the first one despite he wouldn’t be able to use it in a game.
“But he signed it so it’s a nice keepsake,” he said.