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Watch Giancarlo Stanton lift a small child using only his biceps at Play Ball event

Gordon, Stanton show off skills at Play Ball event

You've never really seen happiness until you've seen dozens of kids' eyes light up as they spot the Major League ballplayers they're about to play with. 

On Thursday afternoon, Major League Baseball and USA Baseball unveiled their new Play Ball initiative aimed at getting more people of all ages and genders outside and playing the greatest sport this side of the yet to be created "Rollerball."

Held at Macomb Dam Park's Heritage Field, the site of old Yankee Stadium, Commissioner Rob Manfred and current MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds were on hand to ring in the festivities. Said the Commissioner:  

"The purpose of the Play Ball initiative is just to remind people you can engage with baseball without having nine guys on each team, uniforms and umpires. There's lots of small games, there are ways to play baseball and they can help you develop great skills."

As the youth players prepared to play catch, run the bases and smack some plastic-ball-and-bat dingers, they were completely unaware of the All-Stars and legends about to join them. And just who were they, you may ask? 

With the Marlins in town to take on the Yankees, the team sent lightning-fast Dee Gordon, rippling-muscled Giancarlo Stanton and Hall of Famer Andre "The Hawk" Dawson. Meanwhile, the Yankees sent the slider-tossing Dellin Betances, homer-hitting Chris Young and the 3,000-hit-chasing Alex Rodriguez

Once the event started, it was an all-out carnival of baseball delights.

Dee Gordon started by hosting a baserunning/"American Gladiators" competition with Harold Reynolds: 


And finished up by unveiling his Hideo Nomo motion. Cross fingers that we'll see him on the mound one of these days. After all, it's the hot new trend

Not wanting to injure the children by hitting a home run through them, Giancarlo Stanton mostly kept to the mound. At least, when tiny humans weren't hanging off his rippling muscles that were larger than the wiffleballs being used:


Andre Dawson also gave some important tips during a game. I'm guessing it was "Swing good." 

For once, Betances' slider wasn't moving much. The reliever said afterward:

"There were a bunch of little kids taking some good hacks. There was this one girl that got me pretty good."

As for Alex Rodriguez, well, the kids either loved him or had turned into zombies that were hungry for flesh. 


Even better, a group of kids took to an unused part of the field to play their own pick-up game of baseball. Which makes sense. After all, Young said after the event: 

"All you need is a field. Sometimes we didn't even have bats. But you made it work, and you were able to find a spot of grass and go out and have some fun with your friends."
Read More: New York YankeesMiami MarlinsDellin BetancesAlex RodriguezGiancarlo StantonDee Gordon