I was just finishing up a game in the Dominican Republic and was about to hop on the bus to go back to the hotel until I saw this little kid sitting down on the sidewalk all alone. I kindly went up to him and asked what was wrong. Although his English wasn’t the best, I understood that he was really sad because he waited all game for a ball and wasn’t able to get one. This really hit me hard because I remember when I was a kid if I didn’t get a ball I would feel terrible as well. I then told him to wait there for a minute while I ran back to the bus to grab him a ball. Once I gave it to him he gave me a hug. This truly changed my baseball life forever.
Playing baseball overseas has been an amazing experience for me and everyone around me. It has been very humbling and has led me to realize how lucky I truly am to be playing baseball in the U.S. I’ve been to many places including the Dominican Republic, Cuba, China, and Puerto Rico. All of these places had a big impact on who I am as a person. I say this because I got to meet all the young kids who have no equipment or gear. All they have is a stick and sometimes not even a ball. I’ve seen many kids use a rock instead of a ball and that alone showed me how lucky and fortunate kids in the U.S. really are.
Being on the national team and traveling really allows you to see how the other side of the world lives on a day to day basis and how many people love this game and would do anything for it. Not only has playing overseas helped my overall baseball skills, but it has helped me understand people more and really get to know how to cope with different things due to the fact that my parents aren’t around during these trips. It allows me to be independent and prepares me for the future which is also another big reason why I enjoy traveling and playing this great game so much.
Playing on the national team has truly changed my life for the better and I’m so glad I took a chance at this great opportunity.