The buzz in the bleachers and phone cameras in use suggested it was much more than a regular youth baseball practice at Minoru Park last week.
The Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy was back at Latrace Field for the Honda-sponsored Super Camp — one of 13 stops across the country this summer.
The two-day sold-out session was led by alumni players along with certified Toronto-based instructors from the Jays academy.
Lloyd Moseby, a fixture in the Jays outfield for much of the 1980s was among the the alumni, as was more recent players — infielders Homer Bush and Orlando Hudson.
An added bonus was the unscheduled day one appearance of hall-of-fame second baseman Roberto Alomar who led the Jays win back-to-back World Series titles in 1992-93. Alomar will return to Richmond next month for his foundation’s inaugural charity golf tournament at Mayfair Lakes.
“It’s a pretty special group we got here. There’s Lloyd who was a mainstay in the 1980s and Roberto from the 1990s. Then Homer from the early 2000s and Orlando from the mid-2000s,” said Blue Jays Program Specialist Jeff Holloway. “We have some that played fairly recently so it’s cool that we players the parents can resonate with and some the kids may have watched too.”
The camp was for kids nine to 16 years of age and focused on skill development. Players rotated through stations that cover skills including: hitting, pitching, infield, outfield, base running and agility.
Instructors will also work with coaches from local baseball associations to help develop their instructing skills to take back to their teams.
“We know we are not creating a major league baseball player in the two days that we are here. We just want to establish a connection with the young persons coming to our camps and build on their love for the game,” continued Holloway. “We hope through our experience we are able to provide something here that motivates them and encourages them to get better as a baseball player and keep playing baseball too.”
For the older elite players, the Jays host Tournament 12 each September — inviting 150 of the best college eligible players in the country to the Rogers Centre to play on regional teams over five days in front of university and professional scouts.