DENVER -- Rockies relief pitchers Carlos Estevez and Zachary Rosscup took time out from their rehabs to remind everyone that, at its root, baseball is about fun.Estevez and Rosscup hosted about 60 children on Saturday morning through the PLAY campaign, a national awareness initiative of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers
DENVER -- Rockies relief pitchers Carlos Estevez and Zachary Rosscup took time out from their rehabs to remind everyone that, at its root, baseball is about fun.
Estevez and Rosscup hosted about 60 children on Saturday morning through the PLAY campaign, a national awareness initiative of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society in conjunction with Major League Baseball, which is made possible by the Ruderman Family Foundation, Major League Baseball Charities, the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation.
The two-hour event ushered participants through a series of stations to promote healthy eating, injury prevention, strength and conditioning and education about the dangers of illegal performance- and appearance-enhancing drugs.
One way Estevez and Rosscup stayed healthy when they were young was, well, playing. And baseball remained fun because they learned to love the game.
Estevez, 25, grew up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and began playing at a young age.
"I was, like, 5 or 6, always in the streets playing stickball, whatever we could find," said Estevez, who said he didn't look at baseball as a viable career until he was about 14. "If we didn't have money for a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball, we just made balls out of socks and stuff like that. Now, when I think like that, it's really funny. In our culture, we'd do anything to play baseball.
"You've got to have fun. And it's not just little kids. Even here in the big leagues, it's a child's game played by men. If you don't have any fun out here, it's going to become a job that you don't want to be in."
Rosscup, 29, grew up in Clackamas, Ore., where he enjoyed the game and kept his body fresh by playing multiple sports year-round.
"I was never on a travel ball or any elite-type team," Rosscup said. "I just played in the town league that we had. I'd play in the summer, and play football and basketball during the other seasons. So I didn't focus totally on baseball because I had other things to do.
"When I was younger, we'd go to the nearest elementary school and play. We'd get a bunch of tennis balls and play home run derby."
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.