Hot Rods Summer Camp brings back fond memories for the players
"Growing up, I never thought I’d be able to like, never thought I’d be playing pro ball, inspiring kids like this, and having fun doing anything like this," said Bowling Green Hot Rods Pitcher Mikey York.
Most professional baseball players started their careers in little league. Many of them also grew up going to summer baseball camps like the one being put on by the Bowling Green Hot Rods the past two days at Bowling Green Ball Park.
"Back where I grew up in the Norfolk-Virginia Beach area, we had a Triple-A actually," Hot Rods third baseman Zach Rutherford said. "I remember me and my buddies would always go out to those camps when we were younger. Always had a great time."
"Just to think that you know you did come from a little kid playing, it’s kind of cool to look back and remember the time when you were just ten years old, running around, and having a great time," said Hot Rods center fielder Carl Chester.
The campers have a lot of fun getting to play their favorite sport with players they look up – literally and figuratively – but if you watch the activities close enough, you’ll notice that it’s the Hot Rods players who seem to be the ones have the better time out on the diamond.
"It’s cool because especially being younger, you know what it’s like with the kids looking up to everybody that’s running these camps," Rutherford said. "Being professional baseball players they look up to you, and it’s just pretty cool."
"It’s so much fun being out here with these kids," he said. "I think I’m having more fun than they are just hearing the stories where they’re coming from."
While it’s all fun and games on the field, the players know the important role they play as role models to these campers, as well as how vital it is to give back to their city’s youth when they have the opportunity.
"It’s awesome to give back to the community that we play in," Chester said. "To see the kids in the stands, and then to have them out here, just to teach them a thing or two every day is fun."
And maybe some day, the kids at this year’s camp might end up facing the Hot Rod players who they grew up idolizing.
"They were hitting me pretty well," York joked. "Good thing they’re not in Midwest League otherwise I’d be in trouble."
After the two day camp is over, all campers received tickets to the July 13 home game between the Hot Rods and the Kane County Cougars.