Citi Procamp: Didi Gregorius

By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan)

MOUNT VERNON, NY- 160 young athletes, a plethora of outstanding high school and college coaches, and one Major League Baseball superstar converged on Sports Underdome on August 25, 2016. The occasion? New York Yankees star shortstop Didi Gregorius hosted his inaugural Citi Procamp.

Gregorius, who told me he idolized players like Derek Jeter and Ken Griffey, Jr. while growing up in Curacao, coached the campers in all facets of the game of baseball: hitting, fielding, throwing, and base running. “When I was their age, I always wanted somebody from the big leagues to come and talk to me and teach me the way to play the game. For me, it’s amazing just to be here…getting to talk to the kids, letting them get to know me a little bit better, and showing people what I do off the field, too.”  To that, Gregorius added that the campers should take away: “…experience. Because you always have to start at [a young] age…. [This camp] is just a great opportunity.”

Family members and friends of the campers in attendance were invited to watch the practice from a cordoned off section under the dome. Jay Tennigan, of Fairfield, Connecticut, who was cheering on his nephew, Jake Corbett, said:  “As an avid Yankees fan to go and see Didi Gregorius, this is a big event in Jake’s summer and in his life. [Didi] … is an accomplished player, even as a young professional.  It is a huge event for Jake and probably the hallmark of his summer”.

Not only were the 160 campers Gregorius’ students today, the coaches were, as well! Walker Larson, an assistant baseball coach at Ramapo College of New Jersey was particularly moved with Gregorius’ character.  “[Today] I’ve learned how important it is to be gracious and to be humble.  This guy is a superstar athlete and he’s here smiling [widely] and playing with the kids”.

Larson added: “It has been an awesome experience working alongside Didi Gregorius.  He is obviously an unbelievable baseball player, but he is also great with the kids. They love him and seem to be having a great time with him. It’s great to see a guy like [Didi] doing something so nice on an off-day, [of] all the things he could be doing today.  It has been a wonderful experience.”

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