NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Some promising future major league talent was treated to a special surprise on Friday in New Rochelle, when New York Mets legend Mookie Wilson visited A-Game Sports’ summer baseball camp to teach the fundamentals of the sport he played professionally for more than a decade.
Wilson - who now calls South Carolina home, but frequents New York often for both business and baseball – took his talents to New Rochelle to train and demonstrate the “right way to play the game,” showing proper footwork, glove work and baserunning techniques.
Best known for being the player that hit the ball that snuck under Bill Buckner’s glove in game six of the 1986 World Series, Wilson wasn’t at City Park Field to talk about batting, instead, he stressed the importance of hustle, and having a sound foundation of fundamentals on the base paths and in the field.
“Teaching baseball is what I do, and I teach it the right way,” he said to crowd of campers sporting their finest Met orange and blue. “I can’t guarantee that you’ll get a hit or get your glove on the ball, but you’ll always be in position to make a play if you follow what I’m preaching, because I’m here to teach you about fielding, and the art of base running.
“Everyone wants to be the one to get the big hit, but there is value in other areas of the game, and that’s what we’re focusing on. I want to teach you the way the game should be played.”
Wilson is just the latest former major league player to volunteer their talents at A-Game Sports’ camps, joining former Yankee Shane Spencer last week, and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera last year.
A-Game Sports co-founder Darin Feldman said that getting Wilson to come train the kids came naturally during a conversation with New Rochelle resident Erik Sherman, who wrote a biography about the Mets’ former franchise leader in steals.
Feldman’s partner, Kevin Plein, noted that in just their second year running a baseball camp for kids in New Rochelle, the numbers have noticeably swelled from year-to-year, with campers coming from far and wide to hone their skills on the diamond at A-Game Sports.
“On just a year-to-year basis, it’s a pretty dramatic increase, and I think that’s because we approach the game, and our camps differently than other camps. That’s what enabled us to get Mookie, to get Mariano last year, and why people are coming here,” he said. “Last year it was about 80 percent (campers) from New Rochelle, now we have kids from Yonkers, the Bronx, Mamaroneck, and it’s really growing remarkably fast.”
A-Game Sports isn’t limited to just baseball. They will host a basketball camp during the last week of the summer before kids go back to school, from Monday, Aug. 31 to Thursday, Sept. 3 at the A.E. Mascaro Building in New Rochelle.
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