Gonzalez relives his youth at annual ProCamp
First baseman umps, doles out advice, answers questions from youngsters
LOS ANGELES -- Right around the time the Dodgers were ironing out the details of a three-team trade with the Braves and Marlins involving a dozen players, Adrian Gonzalez was telling small children that his favorite pizza topping was pepperoni.
On Thursday morning, the first baseman helped run his Adrian Gonzalez Baseball ProCamp at Granada Hills Charter High School. Gonzalez rotated through various drill stations set up on the school's baseball field, took pictures and answered questions from more than 250 first- through eighth-graders.
"Typical kid questions: 'How does it feel to hit a home run? Who's your favorite teammate?'" Gonzalez said, laughing. "They're always good questions."
Gonzalez has worked with the organization since he was with the Red Sox, and this is his third year of involvement as a member of the Dodgers.
"A lot of kids, a lot of energy, a lot of fun," Gonzalez said. "They're working on almost every drill that you need to work on for baseball, from stretching to baserunning, ground balls, hitting. Obviously you want them to learn baseball, but also just have a good time."
Besides discussing pepperoni pizza, Gonzalez took questions from the campers about beating the National League West-rival Giants, playing other sports as a kid and, of course, who's better -- Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke?
"Let's just be glad they both play for our team," he answered, to cheers from the crowd.
Gonzalez also talked about how he felt when the Dodgers traded Matt Kemp, and how the Dodgers greet new teammates after trades. With the three-way deal officially going through Thursday afternoon, Gonzalez will have a whole slew of new faces to greet, including Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Bronson Arroyo, Alex Wood and Jim Johnson.
After the Q&A session, Gonzalez watched the camp participants play in scrimmages. In one, he helped umpire, making a controversial "safe" call at first base and asking the parents near the field if anyone had a camera to go to instant replay.
"The kids love being here, too," Gonzalez said. "It's good to see them out here."