LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers hosted the National PLAY Campaign on Saturday morning, with third baseman Justin Turner
, members of the Dodgers training staff and Damian Rodriquez of the Taylor Hooton Foundation speaking to kids at Dodger Stadium about the importance of eating healthy and staying active.
“When I was a kid and I ever had the opportunity to see somebody who I aspired to be — I wanted to be a Major League baseball player — so whenever I heard anyone was around, I’d want to be there to meet them or get the chance to ask them questions or pick their brain,” Turner said. “It’s pretty cool to be on the other end of it now.”
The program participants rotated through four stations where they learned about nutrition and ran through a few drills. Afterward, they headed to the batting cage below the Dodgers’ dugout for a question-and-answer session with Turner.
“I think it’s good for the game of baseball,”
Justin Turner said of having the chance to talk with kids. (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Turner answered questions about his pregame routine, his approach at the plate, how to hit a curveball, what he’d be doing if he weren’t a Major Leaguer — and, of course, how he maintains his beard.
Turner said he hoped baseball’s current youth movement, spearheaded by the likes of Mike Trout
and Bryce Harper
, would continue with the next generations of players, like the kids who turned out to Dodger Stadium before the Dodgers’ game against the Reds.
“I think it’s good for the game of baseball to try to promote it and try to inspire kids to want to dream about being a baseball player,” Turner said. “I guess it gives kids incentives to want to be better, and we’re always looking for better players — the next Mike Trouts and Bryce Harpers and superstars — so hopefully there were some superstars in there today that I got the chance to talk to.”
PLAY, which stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, was founded in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society to raise awareness about children’s health and obesity in the United States. The Taylor Hooton Foundation educates children about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.