Batavia's post-season visit's Little League Muckdogs, involved in mentoring youth
Submitted by Howard Owens on March 12, 2009 - 9:51am
More than 2,500 miles separate Claremont, California from Batavia, New York. But on Tuesday, March 2, Claremont Little Leaguers got a bit of Batavia right in their own ballpark.
Jermaine Curtis, third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals minor league team, the Batavia Muckdogs, paid a special visit to Claremont’s Little League Farm team who bears the same name. Curtis visited with the 13 youngsters and shared stories about his road to being a professional baseball player including his successful career with UCLA baseball. Curtis stressed the importance of doing well in school, always trying your best and most of all he told the boys to “always have fun.”
The meeting of Muckdogs from opposite sides of the county was no coincidence. In 2008, Claremont Little League officials decided to assign the younger players to minor league teams.
Chairman Bernie Bernstein said, “We thought the designs for the minor league teams were fun and that the kids would really be excited about them. The 50th anniversary of Claremont Little League was the perfect opportunity to roll out the program.”
Well who would have known that they would have also provided an opportunity for the youngsters to meet the stars of their respective teams?
Claremont Muckdogs’ coach, Brian DeMott, through a mutual friend, found out that Curtis, whom he had seen at many UCLA games, was drafted by the Cardinals and played for their minor league team, the Batavia Muckdogs.
Curtis, a graduate of A.B. Miller High School in Fontana, happened to be in town with his family when the call came. Curtis was enthusiastic about the opportunity to visit with the young Muckdogs and applauded the league for making the decision to use minor league team names and logos for the season.
Curtis responded to the request saying, “I want to give back to the sport I love so much! My dad and I took the journey to being a professional baseball player all on our own. We had little guidance and had to learn along the way. I want to be able to be a mentor and help young kids who are upcoming athletes.”
Curtis’ outreach to young athletes is just beginning. He is in the process of launching a new website, upcomingpros.com, which will allow upcoming professional athletes to mentor children and their parents on their road to college sports and the pros.
Curtis plans to keep in touch with the Claremont Muckdogs and other young athletes through a blog on his site and in time, he plans to bring in other top collegiate and semi-pro athletes to the site to do the same.
One thing is certain; there are a few new fans of the Batavia Muckdogs in Claremont, California today!