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Archer stresses academics at RBI event

Rays pitcher visits outreach program while on the road
MLB.com

SEATTLE -- Even though Chris Archer pitches for a team on the other side of the country, he may have made a few fans in Seattle on Friday.

The Tampa Bay pitcher spoke to Seattle's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) league at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club in the morning before the Rays opened a three-game series against the Mariners.

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SEATTLE -- Even though Chris Archer pitches for a team on the other side of the country, he may have made a few fans in Seattle on Friday.

The Tampa Bay pitcher spoke to Seattle's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) league at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club in the morning before the Rays opened a three-game series against the Mariners.

View Full Game Coverage

"Visiting RBI is something I like to do in every city," Archer told the gathering. "It gives me a platform to reach out and allow kids in your position to meet a Major League baseball player."

Archer started his visit by introducing himself and stressing the importance of academics and education before shifting to a question-and-answer format. He fielded questions ranging from his hardest out (it's recently retired David Ortiz) to how he's built his velocity over the years (lower body and core strengthening exercises).

Being in the presence of the Rays ace was an enriching experiencing for Jack Lui, 17.

"I'm very grateful to hear him to talk to us," Lui said. "You don't have to be really good to make it at that level, you just have to be smart and try hard and just be thankful for what you've got. It's just great to hear from someone at that level that academics are important."

For 10-year-old Davonn Abaga, learning about Archer's unique upbringing and his development as a pitcher was enlightening -- he was adopted at an early age and didn't pitch full-time until he was 16.

"I liked hearing about how he grew up in life," Abaga said. "[I like] how his mentor helped with him and got him into pitching."

Julien Pollard, the program director for Seattle RBI Baseball, was thankful Archer took the time to meet with the kids.

"This is particularly special because he's a visiting player coming from out of town and he reached out and said, 'Hey, I'm in town for the weekend, can I come and talk to these guys?'" he said.

"For me, that's really cool because it's someone that's new to our kids and our community. Someone they're aren't really familiar with. Obviously, he has a great story and a great impact on what he is doing."

Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Rays on Friday.

Tampa Bay Rays, Chris Archer