Following a period of on-field instruction, all of the kids in attendance were treated to a number of speeches from sports figures, including Ron Darling.
Mike Baxter and other Mets players spent the early part of the afternoon running through drills on pitching and fielding, as the kids in attendance formed into large groups on the outfield grass. Tim Teufel, the Mets third base coach, joined in as well and helped the kids practice fielding groundballs.
Older boys from the Cory Lidle Foundation, named after the Yankee pitcher who died in a 2006 plane crash, travelled from California to assist the Mets players and coaches in running drills for the kids from Tuesday’s Children.
According to a coach from the group, the foundation specializes in financially helping kids play baseball, from a younger age through high school, including giving out scholarships and supporting Little Leagues.
Tuesday’s Children was formed after 9/11 and seeks to bring together families who were greatly affected by the attacks in an effort to enhance the healing process.
After wrapping up outside, the kids headed indoors to hear from ESPN reporter Kelly Naqi, former Met pitcher and current announcer Ron Darling, and Australian athlete Michael Crossland.
Darling told the group about different periods in his life, touching on how he was always good, but never the best player growing up in Massachusetts. Then, how as a three-sport athlete at Yale, he grew and improved.
He inspirationally noted that after hearing that he would never make the Major Leagues, he went on to have a 13-year career, highlighted by events such as the 1986 World Series victory with the Mets.
He spoke about the importance of having passion for what you do and having fun in being successful in baseball, then bridged the idea to other parts of life, speaking about his sons.
“All I told them when they were growing up was have a passion for what you do,” Darling said. “I think that is the thing, if you have a passion for it, you’ll figure out how to make a living.”
Following Darling, Crossland, an athlete and businessman who makes many inspirational speeches, shared his hardships with the crowd. He spoke about his struggles with cancer at a very early age and having his baseball career end after suffering a heart attack while playing college ball at Texas.
As the 29-year-old spoke about the many things he has done in his life and everything he has been through, he shared a personal lesson.
“Make a difference in someone else’s life,” Crossman said. “When you make a difference in someone else’s life that’s when you become successful.”
The origins of his positive outlook came from his mother, who refused to accept the fact that his cancer, which was discovered when he was 11 months old, had a 96 percent mortality rate. She instead focused on the 4 percent.
When the speeches ended, the kids went back outside to watch the Mets batting practice and meet some of the players before the game against the Miami Marlins.