Marlins star joins teammate Ramos in assisting for youth game
By Joe Frisaro
MIAMI -- Full-squad workouts for Miami don't get going until Feb. 24, but Giancarlo Stanton was on the field at Marlins Park in a different capacity Monday afternoon. The two-time All-Star was a guest coach during a fast-pitch RBI softball game for girls 18 and under.
Stanton and Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos each assisted for the seven-inning game, won, 8-7, by Team Ramos. The event helped launch Miami's Ayudan Caravan Week, which concludes with the annual Winter Warm-Up on Saturday at Marlins Park.
At 25, Stanton is one of the rising young stars in the game. To the reigning National League home run champion, the chance to spend some time Monday with the teams, offering some advice and afterward posing for pictures and signing autographs, was rewarding.
"That was cool," Stanton said.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has made connecting with youth a high priority.
Stanton saw lending a helping hand Monday as doing his part to remind young people to stay active.
"These days, it's video games and on your phone all day," the NL MVP runner-up in 2014 said. "You've got to be outside, playing baseball, and sports in general. But we want to influence baseball into the younger generation."
Growing up in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Stanton was a three-sport star, participating in baseball, football and basketball. As a senior in high school, he was offered a football scholarship by then-coach Pete Carroll to attend the University of Southern California. But the second-round pick of the Marlins in 2007 opted to play baseball.
Watching the players in the RBI game reminded Stanton not to forgot his upbringing.
"Obviously, we can't be here every time," he said. "But it is a good place to start and to show we have not forgotten. We're not just playing in the big leagues and then forget how we got here, or the steps that it took, which included youth baseball."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.