Suzuki Plans to Return in January for Youth Clinic
By Rodney S. Yap
It’s hard to let go of a good thing.
It appears that Maui’s youth baseball players who attended Kurt Suzuki’s baseball clinic last year made a memorable impression on the former Baldwin High School standout, just like he did in Washington, DC, during his brief stint with the Nationals.
Suzuki announced today that he will be returning to Maui to host his Second Annual Youth Baseball Clinic on Saturday, Jan. 12 at Maehara Baseball Stadium.
“Last year we felt so blessed to have such a great turnout in the first event, we couldn’t wait to start planning the next one,” Suzuki said. “Just seeing the expression on the kids faces and hearing all of the positive feedback from the parents, makes it all worthwhile knowing the affect we are having in the community.”
Seeing the positive impact Suzuki made since his acquisition by the Nationals — both, defensively and offensively — figure to make Suzuki a permanent member of the team, which was all part of the plan, according to Washington General Manager Mike Rizzo.
“He’s not a rental,” Rizzo told beat writers in D.C. during the Nationals’ postseason run, which included winning the National League East Division title. “He’s going to be here for more than this season. He’s a guy who can really take that rotation together and get it going better than it already has.'”
Rizzo said it loud and clear, because he believes it. In case Wilson Ramos, who is injured currently, does not recover in time, Suzuki will have an important role to play in the upcoming season.
Instructors from All Pono and other local high school coaches will be on hand to conduct the free clinic for youth ages 8-18 on a limited basis. Registration forms are being accepted for the first 150 youth, ages 8-12 and the first 75 youth, ages 13-18.
The clinic will reinforce the fundamentals of hitting, throwing, base running and catching. Suzuki plans to move from station to station, providing instruction and demonstration in each area, like he did last year.
Due to the large number and age range of the participants, the clinic will be split into two flights. Between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., youth ages 8 to 12 will participate in a 3 1/2-hour clinic, followed by lunch and a door-prize giveaway. In the afternoon, older youth, ages 13-18 will take the field between 1:30-4 p.m., also followed by a light snack and door-prize giveaway.
All 225 participants will receive an autographed item by Suzuki as well as a gift bag, presented by Nike filled with items from local businesses. Space is limited and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.