Bernie, Ronald McDonald, Congressman Joe Baca and hundreds of excited children.
Just a few names of those who helped deliver a memorable day last weekend at Arrowhead Credit Union Park. More than 800 kids from San Bernardino, Rialto, Loma Linda and other surrounding areas took the field as part of the Joe Baca Foundation Baseball & Fitness Clinic, aimed at teaching baseball and healthy living skills to local youth.
Former baseball professionals and future MLB stars like Dodgers prospect Trayvon Robinson, Astros prospect Vincent Velasquez, Giants prospect Bryan Salsbury, Marlins prospect Greg Burns and Cardinals prospect Mike O’Neill took the children — ages 7 through 13 — through on-field drills, and spoke to the kids in length about making wise choices throughout life.
Ronald McDonald even showed up to present each kid with a free Happy Meal as they left the stadium. Other vendors sacrificed their day to set up booths around the ballpark, allowing children time in inflatables and offering free baseball memorabilia like baseball cards and caps.
The day was highlighted by the event you see in the picture above. Unfortunately some kids had to leave well before this, but the ones that stuck around were treated to a short presentation from Congressman Joe Baca about his childhood, and how he always wanted to be a professional baseball player. He let them know that although one door was eventually closed for him — as his talents on the baseball field never blossomed into a big league career — he succeeded in another direction, and is now a representative for his community in Washington DC.
He then turned the microphone over to Daniel Carroll, a Mariners prospect who had also been working with the children throughout the day. Daniel encouraged the kids to stay in school and to stay away from drugs, and let them know what it took for him to reach his goals of being drafted by the Seattle Mariners.
No child seemed to leave the park unhappy, and although every one of them experienced an unforgettable day by playing ball on a professional baseball diamond, the most rewarding part was seeing the kids have fun. We’re so proud to have had the opportunity to host the event, and we can’t thank the Joe Baca Foundation and each volunteer enough for their time in welcoming so many to the ballpark!
For a complete photo gallery of the event, check out our Facebook page by clicking here.