TAMPA – “To go forward, you have to leave something behind,“ Steve Jobs
Each year when the Fall Classic comes to an end, there are many Yankee fans that immediately migrate to Tampa, Florida to participate in the Yankee Fantasy Baseball Camp. So when the leaves begin to turn brown in the Tri-state area, there are many devoted fans that need to get their baseball “fix.” This gives them an opportunity to learn about baseball and life with many of their Yankee Heroes such as Mickey Rivers, Chris Chambliss, Al Downing, Jeff Nelson, Charlie Hayes and many more. This year they may meet some other birds that are flying south to kick off the winter.
As the Toronto Blue Jays in conjunction with Alomar Sports Fantasy Camp opened up sharing the stage with the New York Yankee Fantasy Camp at the New York Yankees minor league facility in Tampa, Florida, Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar was wearing his famous number 12 as he was greeting the many campers that would soon begin their week long baseball journey with many of the former players/coaches that have a connection to Blue Jay Baseball. Alomar Sports Fantasy Baseball Camp has been in existence for three years and it is one of “Robbie’s” ways of “giving back.” Last year, Alomar visited his homeland of Puerto Rico after a hurricane battered the country. He was determined to help as he brought relief supplies to people deprived of basic necessities in the aftermath of this devasting storm. In camp, there are some extremely talented individuals including: Sandy Alomar Sr.,Cito Gaston, Carlos Baerga, Pat Tabler, George Bell, Lloyd Moseby, Devon White among others.
Alomar, who became a Major league Hall of Famer and first Toronto Blue Jay player to do so in 2011, started his major league career with the San Diego Padres (1988-1990) in 1988. He was then traded to the Toronto Blue Jays (1991-1995) in 1991, where he thrived as a hitter and second baseman. In his first year with the Blue Jays, he won his first Gold Glove Award (10 Total) and won most valuable player at the 1992 American League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics. Alomar went on to play with the Baltimore Orioles(1996-1998), Cleveland Indians(1999-2001), New York Mets(2002-2003), Chicago White Sox (2003),and Arizona Diamondbacks(2004) before retiring in 2005. He was a 12 time All-Star(1990-2001), 2 time World Series Champion(1992,1993), 10 time Gold Glove Award Winner(1991-1996, 1998-2001), 4 time Silver Slugger Award Winner(1992,1996,1999, 2000).
Alomar was a switch hitter from Ponce, Puerto Rico and is the son of Sandy Alomar Sr., former All-Star second baseman with a 15 year MLB career. His older brother, Sandy Alomar Jr., was a Major League All-Star catcher. Roberto Alomar’s final MLB statistics simply makes him the greatest second basemen of all time. Finishing his career with .300 batting average, 2,724 hits,210 Home runs, 1,134 RBI’s, and 474 stolen bases. Clearly, Roberto Alomar has a baseball legacy that will last forever. However, it is a burning passion to help others, including Gleyber Torres, New York Yankee Shortstop/second baseman.
Gleyber Torres, a 22 year old rising star from Venezuela, who just finished his first full Major League baseball season with a .274 batting Average, 24 Homeruns and 77 RBI’s and American League All-Star, has been training at the Yankee complex preparing for next year already. His numbers have him in the running to receive 2018 American League rookie of the year honors. Since Ray Negron, long-time Yankee Community Advisor, recommended for the Blue Jays/ Alomar Sports Fantasy Baseball Camp to have their fantasy camp at the Yankee Complex due to the fact that the Blue Jays facility in Dunedin, Florida was under re-construction, it placed Robbie and Gleyber in close proximity of each other. This incredible chance of fate, was created by Negron’s own need to “give back” as well. So when Alomar ask Negron to meet with Torres, he made the magic happen immediately.
Initially, they greeted each other by hugging one another in the Yankee gym, as many young Yankee prospects looked on. It was evident that these young ball players were watching a moment in time that will be etched in their minds forever. Seeing the look on their faces as #12, Roberto Alomar, walked in was reminiscent of any Rock Star walking into a small restaurant or club. “How have you been Gleyber?” Alomar asked. “Doing well, how are you? Thank you for spending some time with me this morning,” Torres replied. As they exchanged support for each other, Alomar, seemed to have a message for the young rising star. Alomar, looked directly at Torres and shared his knowledge and thoughts to Torres. Alomar passionately stated, “It’s important for you to be mentally and physically sound at all times. Routine is very important. Stay focused. The mental aspect of the game is the most important part. My father taught me that long ago.” As Torres looked directly in this Hall of Famer’s eyes, Torres, replied, “Thank you so much. I will take that with me throughout my entire career.” The two then discussed baseball techniques and life for the next thirty minutes. It was another example of Roberto Alomar passing the baton to someone else. Just like Alomar helping the people in Puerto Rico during a crisis, humbly giving his campers a baseball fantasy of a lifetime, he wants to ensure that Gleyber Torres picks up the baton so that he will be able to carry it forward.
Special thanks go to Camp Coordinators Julie Kremer of the New York Yankees and Rob Jack of Alomar Sports and the Toronto Blue Jays