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Young baseball players embrace the wisdom of former Blue Jays


Evan Bruff of Stephenville gets in some hitting instruction in the batting cage from former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Lloyd Moseby, right, during the first day of the Blue Jays Honda Super Camp Thursday at Jubilee Field. — Star photos by Dave Kearsey

It’s not every week young baseball players are called knuckleheads.

Then again, it’s not every day Lloyd Moseby comes to town to shake things up a little.

Moseby and fellow Toronto Blue Jays legends Roberto Alomar, Sandy Alomar Sr. and Duane Ward were in the city this week as the Corner Brook Baseball Association hosted a Blue Jays Honda Super Camp for male and female players from central and western Newfoundland.

Moseby spent most of his time providing instructions to the players in the batting cage down the right field line where cameras flashed as parents caught glimpses of their son or daughter rubbing shoulders with some of the most popular baseball players of all time.

“Knucklehead” was the word of the day in the batting cage as Moseby went about his animated way of encouraging and pushing the players to focus on his instruction.

Ben Smith of Corner Brook was one of the young guns happy to share the diamond with Moseby and company.

He liked how the coaches challenged them. He thought it was nice to see, considering he’s used to seeing coaches being really friendly and providing encouragement but not really pushing players to focus and apply what they are being shown.

“These people keep making you work harder and harder until you get it,” Smith said about the camp’s instructors.

These young players weren’t even born when some of the Blue Jays’ stars were making magic in the big leagues, but Smith said his parents, Will and Kelly Smith, are familiar with the guests of honour this week.

“My dad has been telling me a lot about all these ball players and how they’re so good, so I’m just really excited to be able to be coached by them and just learn what they learned when they were younger,” he said.

Dawson Chaulk, who just happens to like playing second base like Jays legend Alomar did during his career, felt it made sense to go to the camp because he knew it could help him become a better player.

“It’s really fun and the reason I decided to come was because I wanted to get better and I wanted to meet a few of the former Blue Jays players,” Chaulk said.

He wants to be a better player so he can really enjoy playing it, so it don’t get much better than having former pros show the way.

“If you can’t hit and catch, there’s no point in playing the game because you can’t put the ball in play and you’re not going to make any outs,” he said. “I just like learning how to hit, catch and field. It’s really fun.”

It appears his dad suggested he get in the ear of Alomar to get a few tips about playing second base — after all the Puerto Rican native won 12 Gold Gloves in his professional baseball career so he knows a thing or two about the position.

He was hoping to get a few minutes alone with Alomar to talk baseball.

“My dad told me to do that because he’s one of the best ever to play the game, so I could get a lot of tips from him,” Chaulk said.

With 90 young baseball players providing the audience, Alomar has a message to spread as he goes around making appearances at as many as 20 camps on an annual basis with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

“Continue to work hard and continue to believe in themselves — that’s all it takes to become who you want to be,” Alomar said. “In a lot of ways, in life, you are going to go through ups and downs, hopefully more ups (than) downs. But, if you stay positive and you stay strong, and you have the right people around, I think you’re going to be able to reach your dreams.”

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