ANAHEIM -- The Angels Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) league held a camp at Angel Stadium on Saturday morning, raising money that will go toward youth baseball leagues for kids who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to play.
Hundreds of campers, ages 8-18, took the field starting at 9 a.m. PT. Seven stations were set up, taking the kids through a variety of activities, including speed, baserunning, pitching, hitting, catching, outfield and infield drills. The Angels provided a surprise of their own, bringing in players and coaches to help the volunteers.
Angels reliever Cam Bedrosian revealed the secret to pumping a mid-90s heater in the bullpen. Catcher Jett Bandy broke down the proper technique for signs and pitchouts. Infielder Gregorio Petit, with his son on hand, showed the importance of balance when it comes to swinging a bat. Afterwards, all three took part in an autograph session.
"You will remember those answers and these experiences forever," Angels RBI president Dave Smith told the campers, "even long after you lose the [autographed] hats."
While the opportunity to play in a big league park was memorable for the youngsters, Smith emphasized that the most significant goal of the day was raising money to support youth baseball programs. He estimated that Saturday's fundraiser helped bring in about $35,000 between of sponsors, camp fees and the raffling off of Angels memorabilia. Campers and their parents had a chance to win a signed bat from Kole Calhoun or C.J. Cron, a signed Johnny Giavotella jersey and a baseball signed by Andrelton Simmons or Mike Trout.
The money raised Saturday will go directly toward the Angels RBI leagues, funding jerseys, equipment and more, to give those with limited resources the chance to play organized baseball. Smith said he estimates that the Angels RBI leagues have about 1,500 participants each year, with 42 teams (about 600 kids total) this past spring.
While there are RBI leagues across Major League Baseball, Smith said the opportunity for kids to live out their dream of playing in a big league park was unique.
"I don't think anyone else does something like this, coming out to a beautiful park like this and giving the kids the chance to learn the whole circuit of drills," Smith said.
Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.