Mets share diamond with kids for Play Ball

Mets share diamond with kids for Play Ball

NEW YORK -- When Mets players ran out to their respective spots on the diamond Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, they found they were not alone.

Local youth baseball players joined the Mets at each position as part of Major League Baseball's Play Ball initiative, chatting with their professional counterparts before Noah Syndergaard began throwing his warmup pitches.

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Though last weekend was MLB's official Play Ball Weekend, the Mets were on the road at the time. So this weekend, reliever Addison Reed and third-base coach Tim Teufel hosted a Play Ball clinic for over 100 children Saturday in Corona, highlighting the Mets' participation in the program. The team also donated baseballs and softballs to approximately 70 local youth leagues, and paired up with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund to collect equipment for underserved communities.

"The kids get inspired when they get the opportunity to see these players in action live, in living color," said New York State Senator Jose Peralta, who attended Saturday's clinic. "It's kind of like, 'Wow, here they are. And if they can do it, maybe I can do it.'"

Across the league, MLB's Play Ball initiative marked its most significant effort ever to reach out to youth players. MLB personnel wore Play Ball T-shirts during batting practice at ballparks around the country last weekend, plus patches on their uniforms. The league also handed out more than 320,000 plastic bat and ball sets, as well as free game tickets.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.