"Anytime you can get other players involved and our kids get to listen to either former or present players, it motivates them," said Urban Youth Academy director Ike Hampton. "The kids get excited whether they are 7 or 8 years old or high school or college age, especially when the current players, guys who are just up the freeway, come by. It just makes it a very exciting event."
"I think, more than anything, just being able to play this game and get out and share some knowledge and be a part of some of these guys learning the game is the most important thing," said Carroll, who has done an admirable job this season filling in for injured Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal and worked with the kids on their baserunning. "Somebody took the time to help teach us the game, and there's no better way to give back and have an opportunity to do this."
"This is just a lot of fun," said Loney, who worked with Donnells on fielding drills with the kids. "I've been out here a few times and I definitely enjoy helping the the kids out in any way I can. I did one of these clinics this past offseason in the Houston area, where I live, and some of the Houston players showed up, and we really worked with the young players at that clinic."
One of the most popular sessions was the pitching clinics where the veteran Odom was joined by Kershaw and rookie pitcher Jansen in working one-on-one with many of the young pitchers.
"You know, it's great when you can work with these kids," said Kershaw, who has emerged as one of the most promising young left-handed pitchers in baseball. "I think, when we were this age, it would have been cool to have a former or current guy come and work with you. Since we're all part of the Players Association, anything we can do to help out is a good thing."
"Man, I wish I could have gotten all this stuff when I was a kid," said Odom, who won three World Series championships as a pitcher with the Oakland A's between 1972-74. "It's nice for me to come out here and work with these kids and hope they were able to learn something from me. It was also nice to have these young Major Leaguers come out to work with the kids, and they like to pick our brains as well."
After the clinic, Dodgers players took part in a Q&A session with the young players, answering any question they may have.
"This has been great," said Hampton. "I think now that we have a partnership with the MLB Alumni, you'll be seeing a lot more of these events at the academy."