Besides the fact that it was 80 degrees outside, it seemed like a typical October Sunday in the Bronx. However, for some little leaguers, the day was far from typical.
They laced up their cleats, and grabbed their bats and gloves to partake in a baseball clinic. Only this one had a special guest. Former Yankee, Hideki Matsui joined the Bronx little leaguers at the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club and taught them what he knew.
The kids, took batting practice, practiced their fielding and even got some pro tips from Matsui. However, the 2009 World Series MVP, hopes that what he did for these inner city kids this afternoon goes beyond the baseball diamond.
“I just hope they develop a passion for something and hopefully head in a good direction,” Matsui said. “That passion is something that’s important. It’s something that’s going to mean something in other aspects of life other than baseball.”
Throughout the afternoon, you could see that exact passion in Matsui. While instructing the kids he always had a smile on his face. And even though he does not speak much English, he made an effort to interact with participants, putting a huge smile on all of their faces, which Matsui says brought him joy this afternoon.
As the afternoon of baseball instruction came to a close, the kids and coaches received a special treat. Godzilla picked up a bat and showed everyone at the baseball field exactly why that was his nickname.
Every pitch was followed by a crack of the bat. He hit balls to right field, center field, left field, you name it. The “oohs and the ahs” were coming out of everyone on the fields mouths as they watched the former Yankee do what he loves in the city that he once called home.
When asked how happy slugging away made him, Matsui said with a big smile on his face that seeing the kids watch him in awe was what made him happy.
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