SAN DIEGO -- Approximately 240 children sporting ballcaps and baseball gloves took to the Morse High School athletic fields in San Diego on Sunday morning.Forgive Orioles center fielder Adam Jones if he felt like one of them. Years ago, he was."I'm feeling like a little kid again," Jones said Sunday,
SAN DIEGO -- Approximately 240 children sporting ballcaps and baseball gloves took to the Morse High School athletic fields in San Diego on Sunday morning.
Forgive Orioles center fielder Adam Jones if he felt like one of them. Years ago, he was.
"I'm feeling like a little kid again," Jones said Sunday, as he led a free baseball clinic for inner-city kids at his old high school. "Especially with a turnout like this."
Assisting Jones at the event was his old high school teammate and former big league outfielder Quintin Berry. Also on hand were former pitcher and D-backs general manager Dave Stewart and Omar Minaya -- a senior advisor with the Major League Baseball Players Association and a former big league executive.
Jones, who makes his offseason home in San Diego, hosted the clinic, which was organized by ProCamps through the "Players Going Home" program." As part of the program, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA provide resources for players to demonstrate their gratitude to those who have helped them achieve their success.
"If you have the reach, feed the youth -- feed them some sort of knowledge, some sort of escape," Jones said. "This camp is one of them. Obviously there's many things I do around Baltimore, and now I'm starting to incorporate San Diego. This is where I live, this is my home, and this is what shaped me. So giving back to San Diego -- especially southeast San Diego communities -- is really important and high on my to-do list."
Jones rotated throughout about 18 different stations, offering his expertise, while simultaneously joking around with campers. When one kid left his feet to make a diving catch, Jones exclaimed, "Get that kid a Gold Glove!" (He would know a thing or two about the Gold Glove Award. He has four.)"
On top of the baseball-themed events, MLB and the MLBPA administered a $5,000 check to Morse High School in honor of Jones' return home.
"Players care," Minaya said. "It's not only about themselves. This shows the great qualities of our players and the great qualities of Adam. Giving back, to him, is important. Who knows, some of these kids someday will be in the Major Leagues, and it will be a domino effect. They'll be able to give back, too."
To Jones, giving back has always been important. He's been very involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Baltimore. But there was something special on Sunday about being able to give back to his home community.
"This is where it all started," Jones said. "This is where the recruitment process started for me. This is where scouts came out to see me hit, to see me throw, to see me run. ... It's important that we give back to our high schools and our local community. We just want to lead the youth in the right direction."
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.