Baltimore RBI team gets thrill from Lindor visit

Baltimore RBI team gets thrill from Lindor visit

BALTIMORE -- Will Brown has been a coach within the Baltimore Orioles' RBI league for 21 years, and he had never experienced a player from another Major League team visit with the players in his league until Tuesday afternoon.

Prior to playing in the second game of a four-game series against the Orioles, Francisco Lindor stopped at Radecke Park in Baltimore to visit with some players from the Gardenville Grays program during their practice.

When the Indians go on the road, the young shortstop enjoys reaching out to different RBI programs to stop by and chat with the kids in different cities. In 2016, Lindor reached out to the RBI programs in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Orlando and a few other cities throughout the season.

"I [got involved in the RBI program] because the RBI program has been doing it for such a long time and they've been doing such a great job that I wanted to join them. I wanted to join this amazing organization," Lindor said. "I didn't do it in Baltimore last year, so I wanted to do it this year, so I told them to find me a group of RBI guys. I wanted to just show up and talk to the kids."

Lindor started Tuesday's event with a question and answer session, which Gardenville softball coach Tenessa Davenport, who's known as Coach Tea to her team, said is the part their players look most forward to when Major Leaguers come to visit.

"That's their biggest thing," Davenport said. "They want to ask questions. They want to get tips. All these kids think they are Major League players. So, they want to take [Lindor's] tips and try to put it into their game. I think it's a great thing when all the RBI associates come around and deal with all the RBI players, not just the players in their city."

The shortstop explained how much hard work goes into becoming a professional baseball player, and he noted that during the offseason he takes anywhere between 100 and 200 ground balls and can take up to 250 swings per day.

"I think the biggest thing that I want them to get from it is that it is hard work," Davenport said. "You know, the kids think that they can just come out here on the field and play a game and you're going to be successful, but there's a lot of behind the scenes in it. And I think that's what they get a lot from speaking to these players. Then they start to get it. The kids then say, 'I got to come to practice today, Coach.'"

After 20 minutes of questions, the players took to the field and listened to the professional shortstop give tips for improving defensively. The hour-long practice finished with photos and autographs from Lindor before he had to make his way to Camden Yards to prepare for Tuesday's game.

"Just the kids," Lindor said of his favorite part of going out into the community. "Seeing their smiles, their mistakes, how they make fun of each other, it's just cool. It's cute and fun. It's just awesome to just see their environment. It's pretty special. It's different than where I am every day. It always takes me back to when I was doing it."

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.