Nomar Garciaparra, Jerry Hairston Jr. Teach Skills Beyond Baseball At SportsNet LA...

Nomar Garciaparra, Jerry Hairston Jr. Teach Skills Beyond Baseball At SportsNet LA And Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Clinic

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Matthew Moreno-DodgerBlue.com

In partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, Spectrum SportsNet LA organized and hosted boys and girls from the South Bay region for a baseball clinic that was led by Ned Colletti, Nomar Garciaparra, Jerry Hairston Jr., and John Hartung.

Children were provided with t-shirts, caps and gloves, and rotated between four stations — hitting, throwing, infielding and baserunning — while learning the fundamentals at each stop. The quartet of instructors were supported by members of the Garciaparra Baseball Group.

While the morning centered around teaching the proper techniques of the sport, it was clear Garciaparra, Hairston and company wanted to emphasize the bigger picture. “I think sports is so key in success in everything,” Hairston said.

“And I think baseball is the best, because it mirrors life. It’s every single day and you’re going to have your failures more times than your successes. You’re going to get knocked down and you have to learn how to get up.”

While visiting the various stations Hairston not only provided instruction to the entire group prior to beginning that activity, but also spoke with participants on an individual basis and offered words of encouragement.

“It’s very important to be out there and be able to interact with kids,” he said. “Baseball is so important to kids. Not every kid is going to be a Major League baseball player, but what it can do is help you build a foundation for life.”

Naturally, Garciaparra first began working with children at the hitting station. He joked they were taught to always swing at the first pitch. “The goal is to make sure these kids walk away with a smile,” Garciaparra said.

“That’s first and foremost, but [also] that they can have a good time doing baseball activities. Learning to run the bases the right way, fielding a ground ball the right way, swinging the bat and hitting off a tee, throwing the ball, it’s a lot of fun.

“The event is great. The Dodgers and SportsNet LA being able to put on a free clinic for the community, especially at one of the Dodgers Dreamfields is great.”

The clinic SportsNet LA hosted featured former Major League players who carry a wealth of knowledge and, perhaps more importantly, were able to relay that information and connect with the participants. “That’s what I love about this,” Garciaparra said.

The day concluded with Colletti, Garciaparra, Hairston and Hartung sitting down for a Q&A session, where a singular message was delivered. Garciaparra and Hairston stressed the importance of education, which Hartung echoed.

He told the group of his goal to become a professional baseball player and though that never came to fruition, Hartung put himself in position to remain connected to the sport as a SportsNet LA studio host.

And though the camp focused on baseball skills, the children were encouraged to try their hand at all sports, even those they might not have much affinity for. “I see a lot of kids specializing, which is crazy and wrong,” Garciaparra said.

“What’s great about sports is you get to play all of them. Even if you love one, it’s recognizing all the other ones help that out. I just love when kids are active in general.”