Blue Crabs play­ers talk sports, life with chil­dren at li­brary

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By TIF­FANY WAT­SON twat­son@somd­news.com Twitter: @Tif­fIndyNews

South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs play­ers are ac­cus­tomed to play­ing in the heat, but last Thurs­day, a few play­ers were grilled with ques­tions about their base­ball ca­reers by more than 30 chil­dren who live in and around Charles County.

On July 7, Blue Crabs catcher Nor­berto Susini and left-handed re­lief pitcher Robert Car­son vis­ited the P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary in Wal­dorf for an af­ter­noon of base­ball fun with lo­cal chil­dren.

The play­ers dis­cussed their base­ball ca­reers, what it takes to be a pro­fes­sional sports player and what in­spires them. At the end of the pro­gram, the chil­dren were given base­ball caps au­to­graphed by the play­ers and vouch­ers to fu­ture Blue Crabs games.

“It’s great for lo­cal chil­dren to have us here so they can ask us ques­tions,” Car­son said. “This is my first com­mu­nity ser­vice event this year in South­ern Mary­land and I think we should do more of it be­cause I love com­ing to events that have us di­a­logu­ing and in­spir­ing chil­dren.”

At­ten­dees asked about the play­ers’ back­grounds, what they eat be­fore games, their pitch­ing and catch­ing sta­tis­tics, and the play­ers’ fa­vorite parts about play­ing the sport.

Car­son and Susini both said they en­joyed the in­ter­ac­tion with their fans while giv­ing them hope to reach their own goals.

“I want them to un­der­stand the process of work­ing hard,” Susini said. “In life, the harder you work, the more suc­cess you will have. We got good at base­ball through a lot of prac­tice and hard work. It’s not just about play­ing a sport and mak­ing it big, but there is a process to ev­ery ca­reer. Never cheat the process. Work hard and good things will hap­pen.”

Be­fore land­ing at the South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs, Susini played for the Min­nesota Twins and Seat­tle Mariners. He told the chil­dren that there were times he wanted to give up and quit play­ing base­ball, but knew he had to work harder to be a bet­ter player.

“It’s al­ways good to in­ter­act with kids, build their self-es­teem and build their con­fi­dence to­ward what they want to do, whether it’s base­ball or not,” Susini said. “It’s al­ways good for them to speak to some­body that’s do­ing what they see them­selves do­ing in the fu­ture.”

Car­son pre­vi­ously played for the New York Mets and Los An­ge­les Dodgers be­fore pitch­ing for the Blue Crabs. He ad­vised the chil­dren to al­ways do well in school and, al­though they might get knocked down in life, they should never give up on their dreams.

Bar­bara Thorp, P.D. Brown Memo­rial Li­brary chil­dren’s su­per­vi­sor, was very im­pressed that the chil­dren had their ques­tions ready and were so com­fort­able around the play­ers. Many at­ten­dees gave the play­ers fist bumps dur­ing the event, took pho­tos with them and asked even more ques­tions as the play­ers au­to­graphed hats and base­balls.

“You al­ways want to have pos­i­tive role mod­els that the kids can look up to,” Thorp said. “Th­ese gen­tle­men that vis­ited the chil­dren were smart and fun and gave the chil­dren some­thing to as­pire to. The play­ers talked about some things that the chil­dren could iden­tify with, like go­ing to school and work­ing hard. They also shared com­mon ground with chil­dren and were very good at in­ter­act­ing with them. The chil­dren asked a lot of ques­tions and I know hav­ing the play­ers here was spe­cial to them.”

The South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs play­ers will make sev­eral more ap­pear­ances at lo­cal li­braries through­out the sum­mer.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY TIF­FANY WAT­SON

South­ern Mary­land Blue Crabs play­ers Nor­berto Susini and Robert Car­son au­to­graph a Blue Crabs base­ball hat for Azariah Vin­son, 5, a stu­dent at James Ry­der Ran­dell El­e­men­tary School in Clinton.

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