On Saturday morning, Nationals rookie Ian Desmond visited with boys and girls in Prince George’s County to participate in a baseball skills clinic.
Desmond was a big hit with the kids. He taught them how to field infield grounders and they practiced throwing to various bases. They also practiced flipping short double plays.
One child made a barehanded grab and fired a laser to first base. Desmond reacted by humming the theme to Sports Center and telling the youngster that he made a web gem play. The child was just as elated as Desmond.
“You can see it on their faces. They are excited to see me and everything that I say, they are absorbing. There is no better feeling in the world than that,” Desmond said.
The Nationals launched their partnership with Prince George’s County and the Maryland National-Capital Park And Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) during the Winter Caravan earlier this year. Prince George’s County was also the recipient of the 2010 Baseball Equipment Drive to be held at Nationals Park.
The partnership aims to teach baseball to area youth, especially disadvantaged and minority youth, while encouraging healthy lifestyles.
“We are very excited to have Ian Desmond out here with the kids from Prince George’s County,” said Steven Carter of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. “He was very interactive and it’s good to have a Major League Baseball player like that giving back to the community.”
One participant, seven year old Ryan, really learned a lot from the experience.
“I was excited that he came here to see us. When he told us how to do stuff, I was thinking I could try that in my backyard,” he said.
As a youngster himself, Desmond attended clinics with big leaguers and to this day, he still remembers the advice they gave him back then. Of course, Desmond passed that advice to the children this morning.
“You go hard every day, no matter what...and every pitch, every game, every at bat, every play, you gotta pay attention. You want to be good in life or in baseball, you gotta go hard and you gotta pay attention,” Desmond said.
Oh, and obviously, you must have fun.
“That’s basically what I do now to this day. I go out there and play as hard as I can and make sure every day is fun,” Desmond added.
More pictures are available on MASN’s Facebook page.