It’s not every day young ballplayers get tips on their pitching form or stand in on the Wiffle® Ball diamond against a Cy Young winner.
But that’s what happened on Monday as Mariners ace Felix Hernandez visited the Smilow Clubhouse and Teen Center at Rainier Vista.
The skills clinic and Wiffle® Ball game for Little Leaguers and participants in the Reviving Baseball in Innercities program followed a ceremony where Felix awarded grants totaling $100,000 to five Seattle non-profit organizations.
The grants are part of the Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball Players Association “Players Going Home” program that gives select players the opportunity to contribute to non-profits in their home towns or adopted hometowns.
The organizations Felix chose to receive grants were the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County ($30,000); Washington State Little League Districts 8/9 Challenger program for children with disabilities ($30,000); Baseball Beyond Borders ($20,000); Seattle Central Little League ($10,000); Seattle Children’s Hospital Strong Against Cancer initiative ($10,000).
Before arriving at Rainier Vista, Felix spent time at Seattle Children’s visiting with patients in the playroom and on the cancer ward.
The MLB/MLBPA “Players Going Home” program is part of the previously announced $30 million jointly-funded and jointly-administered youth initiative created by the MLBPA and MLB to improve the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States and Canada.