Saturday, January 05, 2013


Mariano Rivera holds baseball clinic in Danbury at Frozen Ropes

1/5/13, "Yankees' closer Mariano Rivera holds baseball clinic in Danbury," News Times, Andre Khatchaturian

"A 12-year old boy intently listened to one of the greatest pitchers of all time, trying to pick his brain and learn how to pitch from one of his idols. As the kid fired a fastball right down the middle, the 5-time World Series champion smiled and exclaimed, "You want to take my job!"

There wasn't a single soul that didn't smile on Saturday morning at the Frozen Ropes Training Center in Danbury when New York Yankees' closer and legend Mariano Rivera made an appearance at a pitching clinic for children of all ages.

Rivera met each child individually, took a photograph with them, and even gave everyone a few tips on how to perfect their fastball. There was also a raffle and auction where autographed memorabilia such as jerseys, gloves, balls, and photos were given away or sold.

"I was a child once," said Rivera. "I always hoped that someone would do this for me, but God did. Therefore, I always try to be with the kids and the youth. I try to put a smile on their faces and be good for them. I (like) to take (my) time and make them feel good; make them know that they can do whatever they want to do."

Rivera, who has five World Series rings along with 12 All-Star appearances and the MLB record for all-time saves, is lauded by many as the greatest closer in the history of baseball. That being said, he's also a champion off the field....

"We (The Mariano Rivera Foundation) have done a lot of things. We're sending kids to college and giving them an opportunity to finish school and make a difference in their community. That's what I love. That's why my wife and I are trying to help others and if we reach out and help at least one person, then we're doing our job."

It was an especially awe-inspiring day for 13-year old Will Baumler of North Sound, NY. Baumler lost his brother during Hurricane Sandy and the Frozen Ropes community is doing their best to help him with his grieving. Meeting Rivera, who is one of his athletic heroes, on Saturday morning undoubtedly made his day just a little bit brighter.

"It feels good," said Rivera. "That's what it's all about. The most important thing is that they have fun."

NOTES: Boston Red Sox pitching prospect Matt Barnes was also present helping with the clinic. The Bethel native from the University of Connecticut, was selected 19th overall by Rivera's biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox, in the 2011 MLB Amateur draft."

images from News Times: Labels, Michael, Wells, Dwyer, Eric

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