DECEMBER 15 2020 – 7:00PM
Macarthur’s up-and-coming baseball players had the opportunity to practice their hitting skills with baseball legend Manny Ramirez last week.
The twelve-time Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star came out of retirement earlier this year to join the Sydney Bluesox.
The former Boston Red Sox player headed out to RBI Australia in Smeaton Grange with NY Yankees first female hitting coach Rachel Balkovec to impart some wisdom on young players.
RBI Australia owner Matt Redman said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“We don’t have people like Manny come out here often,” he said.
“It was great, we had a massive turn out and it was awesome for the kids.
“Having a player of MLB level coming out to teach kids just doesn’t happen very often – especially not in Australia.
“This is the first time we have held a Sydney Bluesox clinic and I think we are very lucky.”
Redman said children, and parents, were excited to learn from some of the best.
“Rachel is the ultimate professional and she had so much knowledge to give to the kids, and Manny, well he’s been there and done that in the sport so he had some really cool stories to tell,” he said.
“It’s so different for us because we don’t usually get these guys coming to Australia so it’s hard to get access to this kind of teaching.
“For a few of the adults there Manny was a childhood hero, so I think the adults were just as excited as the kids.”
The Sydney Bluesox clinic focused on hitting skills.
“They discussed the correct way to approach hitting and being athletic with the bat,” Redman said.
“They talked about the correct way to swing the bat using your whole body.
“It was a great class and I think people got a lot out of it.”
Redman said baseball was a great sport for people of all ages.
“It’s non-contact and can be played by anyone of any size,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, everyone can give it a go.”
The normal Australian Baseball League season has been delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but Redman said Macarthur’s competition had faired well.
“My business here in Smeaton Grange was shut for three months at the height of the pandemic,” he said.
“The local competition was pushed back by about a month and the ABL season will kick off soon so we will all get to see Manny action.”