SOMERS, N.Y. – New York Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson was a guest celebrity to the delight of budding players at Somers’ Summer Trails Baseball Camp on Tuesday.
“We try to get at least one pro every summer,” said Camp Director Jamie Sirkin. “We try for both Mets and Yankees. Having a professional player come is not only the highlight of the season, it can be the highlight of a kid’s life -- to meet someone you’ve idolized, someone who’s worked so hard to achieve success.”
Sirkin said that baseball camp is about more than having a visit from a professional player. “It’s really about the culture of baseball. Eating, sleeping, loving, breathing baseball. It’s a sport that kids have such a passion for.”
Robertson’s visit began with a question and answer period. “What do you think of Mariano? Of Ichiro? What’s your favorite team to play against?” asked the crowd of campers, ranging from third-graders to eighth-graders. “Was there any point in your life when you were a starter?”
Robertson described fellow Yankees Mariano Rivera as “a real stand-up guy,” and Ichiro Suzuki as, “an exceptional player.”
“I like playing against Seattle because they have a lot of lefties.” Robertson pitches right-handed. “I started all through high school, and three games in college. I did okay, but I don’t really have the durability to last that long. It’s hard for me.”
“Have you ever pitched a no-hitter?” was another question. Robertson replied, “Yeah, I threw two no-hitters in junior high school but that’s about the closest I’ve come.”
The Q&A was followed by a demonstration of pitching technique.
“There are simple things I try to work on every day,” Robertson said. “The main thing I think of is the simple motion of getting your arm in a set position. I learned this when I was probably 16. That’s really late, so I had to work on it harder.
“You want to have a good grip on the ball and try to go, what we call, ‘thumb to thigh, hand to sky.’ It’s the simplest thing. If you can work on it every day I guarantee it will make a difference. Eventually you’ll start throwing harder, you’ll get behind the ball, into the power position, and the ball will come like a bullet out of your hand.”