Burriss, Murray surprise kids at Play Ball clinic

May 15th, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- Close to 30 minutes after Emmanuel Burriss borrowed his glove to field some grounders, 13-year-old Francisco Dotor was still a bit shellshocked.

"It was crazy," Dotor said, wearing the glove he shared with a big leaguer.

Nearly 100 kids ages 7 to 14 were greeted with surprise appearances from Burriss and Colton Murray at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park on Saturday afternoon. The Phillies players showed up about halfway through a youth baseball clinic put on by the Phillies Urban Youth Academy for the inaugural Play Ball Weekend.

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Coaches were sending players through hitting, baserunning, infield and outfield drills when Burriss and Murray arrived. They spent the remainder of the camp rotating through the stations, helping at each.

"To be able to come into another city that you're not even from," Burriss said, "and be able to touch on their community as much as our community gave to us, wherever we came from, it means a big deal."

There weren't any pitching stations, but Murray harkened back to his high school days, when he also played infield. On the outfield drills, though, Murray gave way to Burriss' expertise. They both tossed popups to the kids, though, Murray even succumbing to one's pleading to "go deep" and overshooting him by about 20 feet.

Every kid's request thereafter to also get a deep ball exemplified some of the energy and pure love of the game that inspires the Major Leaguers at events like this one.

"All these guys are just out here having fun," Murray said. "It allows you to think back to the times of being with your dad or being around all your friends, going out and playing baseball -- having fun."

Make no mistake: Murray cherishes his time in Major and Minor League clubhouses. "It's fun all over again," he said.

"The grind of it, though," Burriss added, "sometimes you forget what this is all about. This is why we play the game."

For a half-hour on a Saturday afternoon, Burriss and Murray escaped the 162-game drudge. They exchanged high-fives, daps and gloves with dozens of Philadelphia kids, making some lifelong memories in the process and possibly inspiring some to further pursue the sport.