ATLANTA -- Braves outfielder Matt Kemp still remembers his Little League days.Those memories resurfaced on Thursday afternoon, when Kemp visited the Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls club to meet with metro Atlanta youth at the Junior Braves RBI clinic."It's fun -- and it kind of brings you back to
ATLANTA -- Braves outfielder Matt Kemp still remembers his Little League days.
Those memories resurfaced on Thursday afternoon, when Kemp visited the Samuel L. Jones Boys & Girls club to meet with metro Atlanta youth at the Junior Braves RBI clinic.
"It's fun -- and it kind of brings you back to your childhood, when you are on a baseball field having dreams of being in the Major Leagues," Kemp said. "To just be around all these kids is an enjoyment, and I love it. I like coming out here."
Kemp took part in several baseball drills with the kids, including taking a few grounders along the left-field line. He also gave a couple of baseball tips and spoke on the importance of school and education.
The Boys & Girls Club had nine of their 12 Junior Braves teams in attendance to interact with Kemp. The Braves hosted the event, and most kids were happy to ask questions about the game and what it's like to be a MLB player.
"It was really cool to see him interact with the kids and actually be in the drills taking ground balls and showing some hitting and throwing skills he had," Boys & Girls Club regional youth development specialist Aaron Quinney said.
The Junior Braves Youth League was created to increase opportunities for minorities in baseball and to encourage academic success. The Braves have helped in providing equipment and supplies for games if needed. Quinney said that their support has helped get more than 150 kids interested in the sport.
"It's really good, because we are really pushing for our inner-city kids to be involved in baseball, and I know that is a passion of Matt's as well," Quinney said.
After the clinic, Kemp stayed around to take photos and sign autographs with the kids. He preached the value of getting a good education and going to college. Kemp also told the youth that baseball can open door for future success.
"Some of these kids dreams is to play baseball," Kemp said. "A lot of them play football and basketball, but baseball gives you the same opportunities to go to school and provide for your family."
Major League Baseball has promoted its Play Ball Weekend for youth, and the message has been to get out and have fun. The initiative has helped bring awareness to kids and help them explore the game.
Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.