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Luke Murphy of Quispamsis, N.B., got a chance to shag fly balls, scoop up grounders and try his hand at pitching on Wednesday in Charlottetown.
The 10-year-old did it all under the watchful eye of two Toronto Blue Jays’ legends — Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar and outfielder Lloyd (Shaker) Moseby.
“It’s overwhelming,’’ said Luke when asked what it felt like to receive instruction from two of the best players that have ever worn the Jays’ uniform.
Luke was quick to acknowledge that he’s far too young to have appreciated what Alomar and Moseby did on the field but he said his father, Keith, has filled in the gaps quite admirably.
“My dad grew up watching Lloyd, and when he was a little older he watched Roberto. I’ve heard the stories and I’ve watched the YouTube videos.’’
Luke was one of about 30 kids who took part in the two-day Blue Jays Baseball Academy, which partnered with Little League Canada to bring Honda Super Camps to 13 Canadian cities this summer. The camps are held in all 10 provinces. Open to kids and teens aged 9 to 16, players rotated through various drills covering skills including hitting, throwing, fielding, pitching and base running.
Moseby said Canada is like a second home for him after having played with the Blue Jays from 1980-89. The former outfielder doesn’t talk about paying it back by taking part in these camps, he says Blue Jays alumni “owe it’’ to give back to the fans.
“It’s all about (teaching) the fundamentals and these kids get it, they get it,’’ Moseby said. “They’ve got to have fun, they’ve got to laugh. (Sometimes) kids take it too seriously. Heck, there are big leaguers taking it too seriously, so our job is just to make sure they’re having fun and they’re laughing.
“And I laugh at them. I want to be a part of them. I’m just a big kid. You have to be able to laugh at yourself.’’
Moseby's animated manner was a big hit on Wednesday as he put on a fun drill sergeant-like presence.
Alomar, who identified his father, Sandy, as his hero (Sandy Sr. was also a major leaguer) said his message is it’s great if kids decide to play baseball but the most important thing in life is that they grow up to be good human beings.
“Hopefully, we can encourage the kids to stay on the right path and have fun in the game of baseball and in the game of life and that’s what we’re here for,’’ Alomar said. “Everything in life is a challenge but if you put your mind to it and (create) goals and you work hard a lot of things can happen.’’
Shara Anderson of Morell was one of the many parents who sat in the bleachers at Memorial Field watching their kids learn from the best.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for these kids,’’ Anderson said. “I mean, they might not realize it right now but, I think, in the years to come they will.’’
“I’m having fun,’’ Luke said just before running out to the field for the next drill. “Being with Roberto Alomar and Lloyd Moseby is a lot of fun.’’