LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Ricky Romero, a former pitcher in the MLB, always dreamed of coming back home to East Los Angeles and giving back to his community.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be able to do this,” Romero said. “It all started in a group chat and here we are. We’re hosting our second annual camp.”
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Seven years after leaving the MLB Romero created the Ricky Romero Baseball Camp, a free one-day clinic in East Los Angeles. This year the camp was hosted on the same field Romero’s father played Sunday league baseball.
“Coming back here, it just brings back a lot of feelings, a lot of emotions,” said Romero. I still remember coming here as a young kid. My dad used to play Sunday league and this place did not look like this. The community here doesn’t have enough of baseball support as it should have.”
This year, 50 high school kids spent the day running drills and training with Romero as well as other professionals.
“It’s the least I can do for kids,” said Atlanta Braves pitcher Jesse Chavez. Chavez and the Braves won last year’s World Series. “I want to set the example for the next generation.”
Other pros share the same sentiment as Chavez, hoping to be a role model for kids.
“No one really gave me instructions when I was a kid their age,” said 2020 Gold Glove winner J.P. Crawford.
A hometown kid, Romero is simply glad that he could help his community thrive and to inspire the next generation of East L.A. baseball players.
“I can’t stop smiling,” he said. “I know what it’s like to grow up in this area… If I inspire then I’ve done my job.