Nats first base coach and former Expos and Braves Outfielder Marquis Grissom is spending his day off here in Atlanta giving back to the community.
He’s kicking off the grand opening of the Marquis Grissom Field of Dreams located about 20 minutes outside of Atlanta.
It’s a Spring Extravaganza with a special Easter egg hunt for the little ones.
Grissom told me it was a dream of his to be able to provide a place for local youngsters to learn about and play the game of baseball and also learn some important lessons in life.
He bought two more fields and is excited about the facility. He has also partnered up with the Fulton County Park and Recreation Department to provide six more fields for youngsters ages 8-18 years old.
Today’s event is for local kids and coaches. Grissom is expected to be joined by former Braves outfielder Brian Jordan and some of his current colleagues, including Nationals coach Pat Listash.
I turned on one of the local Atlanta TV stations this morning around 7:45 a.m., and there was Marquis Grissom in studio talking to a newscaster about why he is putting these fields together and urging kids to come on out to the event today.
Grissom learned a lot from his time in the big leagues, and he is eager to teach and mentor others. He gained a lot from baseball and it’s great that he is giving back.
In terms of his efforts with the Nationals, he’s having a strong influence on centerfielder Lastings Milledge. Grissom told me he’s confident Milledge can become a legitimate major league centerfielder, but he has to work at it.
The young National is only in his second season playing center field and he doesn’t have the instincts for it yet. That’s something Grissom says you can’t teach, but you can work at it.
Grissom would like to see Milledge improve in a few areas. He told me he needs to be in the right position and focus on the elements of the game.
Milledge is simultaneously working on becoming a leadoff hitter. That’s something the Nats’ first base coach is also working with the young outfielder on.
If you ask me, this is a work in progress that may be tough to accomplish. I think Milledge would be better off in one of the corner outfield spots, but you can’t move Adam Dunn or Austin Kearns right now. The question is, can the Nats afford to keep this work in progress going all season?
Be sure to catch Marquis Grissom on Nats Extra before this Sunday’s game here in Atlanta--the show starts at 1:00 p.m.