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Friday, July 11, 2008

Ripken Baseball Camp

Here is the layout of the whole Ripken Complex. Pretty amazing! JJ spent most of his time at the Rookie Field.

Each day there were a number of stations. One of the big themes for batting was "going back to go forward". Above, JJ is working on putting his weight on his back foot before exploding into the ball.
Each day after lunch the kids got to play a game. JJ and his friend were on the Orioles. The other team was the Yankees. JJ's team swept the series! At the conclusion of the game the coaches awarded one player from each team that days lineup card for being the "Camper of the Day". JJ was chosen as Camper of the Day on the very first Day!On Tuesday, the big kids from the camp were gone for the day so the Rookies got to play at Cal Senior's yard. This was big thrill for the kids and a welcome break from the heat for the parents! JJ, ready to smash one outta Cal's yard!Josiah loved the "black monster" in right field. Us parents loved the covered seating. If you notice, the rookie field has no seating, nor does it have shade!
JJ getting ready to move while playing shortstop.

You always wonder at this type of camp if the big star player will spend any time with the kids. Cal was there all day Monday and went with the older kids all day Tuesday. Unfortunatley he never made it down to the rookie camp. JJ, however, did get to high five Cal's brother Billy who played for the Orioles the same time Cal did. Cal did talk to Josiah though! In the picture above Cal was talking about "going backwards to go forwards" and was using a tee to demonstrate the technique. You can't see him in the photo but Josiah is directly in front of Cal. When Cal was about to hit the ball, he asked Josiah to move. Josiah kind of froze as he realized Cal was speaking to him. I hearded Josiah out of the way and Cal said "The ball is not going to go through the fence, but I don't want to scare you." Josiah is Famous! Cal went on to hit the ball off the tee and he hit it so hard I thought the ball WAS going to go through the fence. After speaking to the group, he spent one on one time with individual batters. Wow! Imagine getting individual attention from a Hall of famer!
JJ's best friend got to go to camp also. This is him connecting with a ball. He was chosen Player of the Day on Wednesday.

On Wednesday night, we went over to Ripken Stadium to check out and Ironbirds game. Cal is the owner of the team. The Ironbirds are a short season single A team. Most of the players come directly from their college or high school teams and begin playing for the Ironbirds. Eric Perlozzo plays for them. Does that name sound familiar Mariner fans?? Eric's father is the third base coach for the Mariners.

JJ says "We had the best seats at the game! Right behind home plate. And the good thing about the game, the usher gave us four certificates to get free Ironbird hats!"

A nice three photo look at JJ's swing.

If you look really close at the photo's above you can see the big'ol grin on JJ's face. The coach was messing with him before he crushed this ball!
The Coaches at the rookie camp were great. This is the rookie camp director giving JJ his exit packet. By the way, the girl standing in the background is Cal's daughter.
Camps over?? Time for a little slip and slide! Overall it was a fantastic experience for JJ and his friend. They got to see Cal that first morning but never did meet him. He didn't seem too disappointed however!. Josiah will be old enough to do rookie camp next year and JJ will be old enough to go up with the big boys. Can't wait till next summer!

For more on Ripken camps check out: http://www.ripkencamps.com/

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