NEW YORK -- After pitching one shutout inning in a 7-6 victory over the Athletics on Saturday, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances hosted a free camp for 200 children from the Lower East Side neighborhood where he grew up.The kids were bused to Grand Street Campus High School in Brooklyn, the
NEW YORK -- After pitching one shutout inning in a 7-6 victory over the Athletics on Saturday, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances hosted a free camp for 200 children from the Lower East Side neighborhood where he grew up.
The kids were bused to Grand Street Campus High School in Brooklyn, the same school Betances attended in the early 2000s. The kids who attended the camp ranged from first to eighth grade.
"To be honest with you, it kind of gave me goosebumps when I walked in [the high school] -- when I heard all the kids and just seeing familiar faces like parents of these kids," Betances said. "I played with these parents. It held a special meaning to my heart just to come back here and do it at my old high school with the neighborhood I grew with."
The kids played baseball for a few innings ahead of Betances' arrival before rain put an end to the competition.
Betances arrived shortly after and had fun with the kids, teaching them the art of pitching. Betances told them they must have proper balance and a good follow through toward home plate.
"Growing up, I worked with a lot of good coaches, but once you get to the professional level, everything is more detailed," Betances said. "If I could pass some of this stuff that I learned to these kids, I'm sure it will stick with a good amount of them. I'm someone they can look up to."
Betances even took questions from the kids. They asked whom his best friend was on the Yankees and Betances didn't hesitate and named CC Sabathia. The day ended with the kids having pizza with Betances.
It dawned on Betances that he never met a star player while growing up in New York. He was pleased he was able to interact with the kids on Saturday and help them believe they can play in the big leagues.
"One of the things my mom and pops always taught me was always try to give back no matter where you are," Betances said. "Remember where you always came from because I'm going to be here. Seeing all these kids smiling, that's what it's all about."
This is the third installment of charity events involving Betances. The events have focused on providing baseball camps, equipment and gear to children in New York and the Dominican Republic.
Betances is not done giving back. This time he wants to bring a World Series title back to New York. He said the 2018 Yankees are a special group.
"I feel we have a lot of good baseball with the team we have. We have a special bond," Betances said. "Our mission is to win the whole thing, bring the championship to New York City. We are playing good baseball. We have to continue to do that. It's a long year. We are definitely having fun."
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.