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Rosales, Bruce team up for sandlot event

MLB.com @JaneMLB

NEW YORK -- Adam Rosales made a promise to himself when he was younger, a pact the A's veteran continues to protect.

"[I said] that if I made it to the Major Leagues, I would continue to play like I was 12 years old," Rosales explained. "It's kind of a tribute to myself, my 12-year-old self, to keep playing the game the right way."

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NEW YORK -- Adam Rosales made a promise to himself when he was younger, a pact the A's veteran continues to protect.

"[I said] that if I made it to the Major Leagues, I would continue to play like I was 12 years old," Rosales explained. "It's kind of a tribute to myself, my 12-year-old self, to keep playing the game the right way."

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To that end, Rosales has done his part on and off the field. The ultra-utility player and home run trotter extraordinaire founded Sandlot Nation last year, a charity that treats youth baseball players around the country to sandlot games.

Rosales' non-profit efforts expanded to Flushing, N.Y., on Saturday morning, as he teamed up with Mets outfielder Jay Bruce for another such event less than a mile from Citi Field.

The former Reds teammates took turns pitching for opposing teams, spreading passion for a game they've turned into a career.

"Today was an awesome day," Rosales said. "We just got together and played a pickup game of baseball, something that Jay and I did when we were young kids. We got the community together and played a pickup game. You don't see that too much anymore ... and that's what I really want to make sure we keep in this great game of baseball."

Rosales' Sandlot Nation events bring kids together -- not only to celebrate baseball, but to highlight the significance of integrating sports and education.

"I just thought, I have a platform as a Major League Baseball player to influence and inspire young kids to play baseball and softball, and that's the main reason why I want to do it -- just to inspire kids -- because I think they look up to Major League Baseball players, just like I did when I was a kid," Rosales said. "My favorite player growing up was Shawon Dunston, and to meet him for the first time when I was a [Major Leaguer] was pretty inspiring. So just to come out, a couple of Major League Bseball players -- to inspire the kids -- is what we want to do."

Rosales grew up down the street from Dunston's Cubs, settling with his family near Wrigley Field. He credits his father, Will, for instilling the passion and joy he has for the game, and nothing thrills him more than doing the same for others.

Honoring his father, who regularly attends Sandlot Nation events, consistently fuels Rosales' ongoing efforts in the community.

"It's a kids' game," Rosales said. "This is their game. This is all about them. I think it helps them build confidence and understand what it means to work as a team. There was a team at this game today, they were down by six runs, but I saw them starting to root their teammates on and working as a team, and they came back and actually won the game. That [has] a lot to do with sportsmanship and teamwork."

Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.

New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, Jay Bruce, Adam Rosales