Do you remember that afternoon game on June 24th when Trea Turner went 5-for-5 with 4 runs scored? Hours before first pitch, Trea was at Georgetown University at a Celebrity Sports baseball camp featuring Trea and several other players. Also in attendance were catcher and all around OPS stud Taylor Gushue and RHP Dakota Bacus from the Potomac Nationals, LHP Ty Madrigal and OF Matt Green, both college all-stars playing for the Cal Ripken summer collegiate wood bat league Bethesda Big Train, and former National (and Met, but we’ll forgive him for that transgression) LHP Mike O’Connor as well as Georgetown University head baseball coach Pete Wilk plus over a dozen volunteers from the popular fan group the Half Street Irregulars. The camp was held in the actual football stadium at Georgetown University while also using the batting cages outside of the stadium. You can check out this video.
It was a morning full of baseball fun, glorious weather, and Georgetown Cupcakes. Gotta level with y’all, passing up one of those cupcakes was a very poor life decision on my part (anyone want to send me some cupcakes? No? Girl’s gotta at least ask…).
Since I spent the morning on the sidelines chatting with PNats staff and some awesome Half Street Irregulars, who had volunteered their assistance for the morning, the best person to describe the day would be 9-year-old Alex Ross who experienced all the camp had to offer first hand.
“I went to a great camp with Trea Turner,” Alex Ross said. “It was lots of fun because I love playing baseball, and I got to work on my baseball fundamentals. I was so excited because I got to play baseball with one of my favorite Major League Baseball players. Trea is one of my favorites because he is fast and aggressive.”
“My group got to go into the Georgetown baseball locker room. We got to see the players lockers. Each locker had a different players name on it. On the wall were some baseball players who played for Georgetown. We got to see the room where the players and coaches watch film of other teams.”
The college coaches warmed up the kids with an old school game of “Pepper”, and there wasn’t a kid who knew what it was, but they sure did enjoy that as part of their warm-up before Trea Turner took the field.
“When we got outside we got to play a game of ‘Pepper’ where someone was hitting a baseball softly and slowly at the rest of us and if we caught it on the fly that person got to hit,” Alex Ross continued. “The kids would softly toss it to the batter. If the batter fouled it off then the person who pitched would go.”
When “pepper” was finished, the kids sat down to wait for Trea Turner, and as Trea walked onto the field, the campers all clapped and yelled for him.
“We got to hear his story of how he got to the big leagues,” Alex Ross said. “He got there by eating lots of food and practicing a lot. We also got to see how he sets up for his at-bats. He tries to [set-up in the batter’s box near enough] from the plate so he can still be able to reach the [outside] of the plate. We got to ask Trea lots of questions. I asked him how he remembers all the signs Dusty gives him to steal or not. He said the only time he can’t steal is when Dusty tells him he can’t, otherwise he can steal any time he wants.”
Trea answered literally dozens of questions, and we learned his favorite food nowadays is sushi which he acquired a taste for. He has tried the eel a couple of times, but has never gone for the dangerous fugu. Trea talked about how he moved up in bat size this season, and how the 2017 has been about making adjustments. He reminded the kids to keep working for their dreams and how he was an example about size and stature doesn’t matter.
After Trea did some infield and batting drills, he answered a few dozen more questions and Trea said as a fan at the old Marlins Park when he was a kid he caught a foul ball off of the bat of none other than Ken Griffey Jr. It was the only foul ball he ever caught as a fan. Trea took a photo with every single camper and volunteer and finished his day with a few interviews with local TV and Kevin Nibley of the Talk Nats Podcast. Before Trea departed, he left behind a thick stack of photos that he autographed in pastel blue on his Mother’s Day photo.
The kids then got split up into 5 groups to work on pitching and catching, batting, infield and outfield.
“The first center I went to is the outfield station with Matt Green,” Alex Ross said. “I made a couple diving catches. The next station I went to was pitching and catching. It was with one of the Potomac Nats coaches and Ty Madrigal from Big Train. I learned how to throw a circle-change.”
“Then, we went to the hitting station to hit off a tee. We learned to hit the bottom of the ball so we can make great contact. Next, we went up on a hill to the batting cages. We got to hit off a tee up there and off a pitcher. We got about 20 hits off the tee and 20 swings off the pitcher [Mike O’Connor].”
“Next, we went back down to the field to finish up. We got a Georgetown Cupcake and a signed photo of Trea. I had lots of fun. It was the most fun camp yet. I want to thank Mr. Lang for letting me go to the camp.”
Alex and other campers like Jayson Werth‘s #1 fan Jude Oz all seemed to have a stellar time, and with a day like that, how could they not? The camp also gave spots for those less fortunate and gifted spots to children from the Nationals Dream Academy and other local charities. The camp also appears to have a positive impact on players, too. As Pointed Magazine noted after the camp, Nationals players who have participated in their camps in the past have all gone on to have stellar performances in the game following their appearance. Trea went 5-5 with 4 runs, 2 RBIs, and a walk in the Nats 18-3 routing of the Reds that afternoon.
So, the obvious question is – when can we get another camp scheduled?