Justin Turner, Josh Satin and Mr. Met took the field in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn yesterday afternoon along with 50 campers from the YMCA Jr. Mets Camp presented by Citi, and it was difficult to tell who was having more fun; the kids, or the Mets.
The clinic took place at Green Central Knoll Park, marking the third event in this year’s series of programs with the Jr. Mets Camp, in which over 1,000 total local area YMCA kids participate each year.
“I’m having a great time,” said Satin, as he looked out at the field of kids on their break. “These kids, you come out here and you never know what to expect; the kids have had great energy and they just love being around the game and being outside and being around us and it makes you really enjoy yourself.”
Coming back for his second tour of duty with the Jr. Mets Camp, Turner says he thoroughly enjoys opportunities to participate in the Mets community outreach programs such as the clinic.
“When [the Mets] came up and asked me to do this again, I did this last year, I was thrilled,” said Turner. “I had a great time last year and I’m exciting to get out and make an impact on the community around New York and the best part is seeing how much fun the kids have and how much they really enjoy Josh and I being out there.”
Both Satin and Turner hosted their own series of drills, dividing the YMCA into several groups. They ran baserunning, fielding and catching drills while also holding some tee-ball batting practice. Turner ran the hitting lessons, while Satin held a defensive drill in which the campers caught a slow roller and quickly threw to first.
YMCA Jr. Mets Presented by Citi is a comprehensive youth baseball program that emphasizes the fun of playing baseball while developing athletic and social skills, practicing the YMCA’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Themes of sportsmanship, teamwork and fair play are central to the annual program.
YMCA Director of Corporate and Fundraiser Relations Susan Glass was thrilled to see the event continue this year as she says it provides the campers with a rare opportunity that most kids could only dream of.
“To be able to do that with a player,” said Glass as she points towards and pauses to watch Justin Turner giving a young camper hitting instructions and promptly cracking a smile cheering for him as he flawlessly squared up the ball off the tee. “Hit a ball, talk to a player about what it means, there’s nothing greater. They’re so proud.”
Citibank Ridgewood Branch Manager Fabricio Moran, representing Citi at the event, was happy to witness such a program occur as a result of a joint effort between the Mets and Citi, especially so close to home.
“[Citi Field] is not just the name on the field,” said Moran. “It’s Citi and the Mets helping out the communities from Brooklyn through all the five boroughs. I’m from this neighborhood, I lived here for the past 30 years, it is a great event going on.”
At the end of the clinic, both Satin and Turner stayed after for autographs and photos. While taking a group shot, Turner asked if “we can get a ‘Let’s Go Mets’ chant going”, prompting the video featured above. The kids enthusiastically obliged and later wished them luck in that night’s series opener against the Colorado Rockies.
The pair of Mets infielder left with smiles ear to ear, as did the kids as they waved goodbye; likely a meeting that neither the campers, nor the players, will soon forget.