Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
The Official Site of the Toronto Blue Jays
news

Blue Jays News

Back to school: Thornton, Tellez meet students

@baseballexis
May 22, 2019

TORONTO -- Trent Thornton remembers the visitors who came to his schools as he was growing up. Among a number of influential people who ventured into Thornton's classrooms, the 25-year-old right-hander lists his mom -- one of his high school teachers in North Carolina -- as the most important. Those

TORONTO -- Trent Thornton remembers the visitors who came to his schools as he was growing up.

Among a number of influential people who ventured into Thornton's classrooms, the 25-year-old right-hander lists his mom -- one of his high school teachers in North Carolina -- as the most important. Those guest speakers always stuck with him and were a reason that he wanted to represent the Blue Jays at their second of two school visits this season ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Red Sox.

“I enjoy just being able to give back,” Thornton said. “I know when I was little, and people would come to my school and talk to us, it’s always a fun day. You get to learn, and you’re doing something new. I’ve always taken pride in doing stuff for the community and trying to give back as much as I can. It’s a pretty unique experience.”

For Rowdy Tellez -- the man of the hour after his two-homer, five-RBI night on Tuesday in Toronto’s 10-3 win over the Red Sox -- heading to Warren Park Junior Public School on Wednesday was something he looked forward to doing because he hadn’t had those experiences as a young student in California.

“I just want to have an impact on the kids,” Tellez said. “I didn’t have much of it growing up, of people coming into my classes. … Not many athletes would have taken time out of their day to come back. So for us, we want to give back to the community that is giving everything to us. Toronto is a phenomenal city and they take care of us. We want to do the same for the kids.”

The visit from Thornton and Tellez -- along with Blue Jays mascot Ace and members of the J Force -- was a surprise for the students of Warren Park, who had a chance to hear from the two rookies, ask them questions, play a game with them, and glean advice from them.

“Take school seriously,” Thornton shared. “It’s a very important opportunity to better yourself and prepare yourself for life later on. I always took school very seriously, and wanted to do extremely well, in case for me if baseball didn’t work out, so I would have something to fall back on. And if you do well, you can make yourself proud, so just work hard and keep trying.”

Added Tellez: “Trust everything that’s going on around you. Believe in what your teachers have to say, they’re not going to steer you in the wrong direction. Just have fun, enjoy it. You only go to school once, hopefully.”

Embracing their time with the players, the focus of the visit for the students centered around teamwork and learning how to be a good teammate, something the big leaguers know a little bit about.

“For me, it’s showing up every day with the attitude that you’re going to be the best that you can be for the people around you,” Tellez said. “Not being selfish and worrying about what’s going on for you, or upset about everything that’s going on if it’s not going your way, but being the same person day in and day out.”

Added Thornton: “You want to be in a locker room where you’re comfortable with the guys you play with. Being able to have their backs, whether they're doing well or not, just to be in their corner, fight for them, root for them. That’s important because if a guy’s got your back, it’s just another person who is pushing you forward.”

Both players enjoyed the opportunity to get out into the local community and embrace the city they call home for the season.

“I love doing stuff like this,” Thornton said. “Having an impact on a kid’s life, whether it be big or small, is something that I hold dear to my heart, so it’s pretty cool.”

“For me, it’s a bigger impact than just the city and the kids,” Tellez said. “It’s personal, this is everything for us.”

Alexis Brudnicki is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @baseballexis.