Now in his second stint with the Oakland Athletics, utility infielder Adam Rosales has had significant playing time since regular shortstop Marcus Semien went down with a fractured wrist in mid-April.
While Rosales bounces all over the infield, his baseball roots are firmly entrenched from his father Will, who immigrated from Mexico as a kid 60 years ago and relocated down the street from Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Despite developing a passion for baseball, Will viewed an education as just as much a priority for his son as baseball.
So to honor his father’s dedication to both education and baseball, Rosales founded a program called “Sandlot Nation” while he was with the San Diego Padres in 2016. The program complements Rosales’ instructional organization ‘Baseball Utility,’ which seeks to grow the game of baseball with local youth while teaching sportsmanship and respect for the game.
“You look around and funding for sports in school is falling off, in some places up to 30 percent,” Rosales said in April at a Sandlot Nation event in McKinney, Texas. “When I looked around at what I could do, I hit on this. I don’t want to see baseball relegated to becoming just a club sport. I think it’s a necessary thing to have in school.”
Sandlot Nation events, which coincide with Rosales’ travel schedule with the Athletics, bring kids together to talk about baseball, and stress the importance of education and having fun on the field.
“I want to raise awareness for the sport and help create passion for it,” Rosales said. “To me, it’s the American sport.”
The program, which has upcoming visits in cities like Anaheim, Houston and Seattle, recently made a stop in Rosales’ hometown of Park Ridge, Ill.
— Adam Rosales (@arosie7) June 25, 2017
The program has even received donations from equipment companies like Dinger Bats and Lizard Skins Baseball for the kids participating in upcoming events.
“I grew up with every chance to play ball, and I’d like to think that kids now will have the same opportunity,” Rosales said.
Sixty years after coming to the United States, Will Rosales‘ wisdom is being passed to another generation by his son and Sandlot Nation.
“It’s a joy for me to see these kids play the game,” Will Rosales said. “And it’s a joy to see how much Adam gets into it. The kids really enjoy his interaction, and he’s like a big brother to all of them.”
You can learn more about Baseball Utility here.
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