Delgado's Training Day benefits charity, fans
Former slugger among legends offering on-field instruction at day-long camp
Former Blue Jays slugger Carlos Delgado will host a fantasy camp on July 22, with the assistance of a number of Blue Jays legends, in support of his Extra Bases Foundation.
The day-long "Carlos Delgado/Extra Bases Training Day" will provide dedicated Blue Jays fans with an opportunity to take the Rogers Centre field alongside some of Toronto's all-time greats for hands-on instruction and personal interaction. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Extra Bases Foundation.
"This is an event for the people that really love the game and want the opportunity to get out there and be on the field and mingle with former players that they liked to watch," Delgado said. "It's more of an event for the adult-types, but it's a fun event to try and raise money to help out kids."
Delgado founded Extra Bases in 2001 with the intention of helping needy families in his native Puerto Rico, though he quickly expanded the organization to provide further aid in both the United States and Canada, where he spent the first 12 years of his big league career with the Blue Jays.
The Extra Bases Foundation aims to equip charitable organizations with the tools and resources necessary to offer healthcare, education and physical activity in an attempt to better the lives of individuals in underprivileged communities or adverse situations.
Among his other charitable ventures, Delgado donated $50,000 to the New York City police and fire fighters' children's fund following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Delgado has also, through his life insurance policy, pledged $1 million to Special Olympics Canada.
While the organization has expanded globally over the years, Delgado said the main focus of helping children in need has never changed.
"What we've done is help out different organizations that work with kids on an everyday basis -- inner-city kids, kids with special needs, kids that have been abused or need after-school programs," Delgado said. "If we can make a positive impact on these kids, then I think we've done our work."
Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, Cy Young Award winner Pat Hentgen, Juan Guzman, Alex Gonzalez, Shawn Green, Jose Cruz, Candy Maldonado, Duane Ward and Lloyd Moseby will join Delgado for this summer's Training Day at Rogers Centre.
Though Delgado said he misses his playing days, retirement has given him -- and his former teammates -- a chance to focus even further on charitable events like this.
"You know, I started Extra Bases while I was still playing, so we were already doing stuff, but most of it was over the offseason, and it was somewhat limited," Delgado said. "So having the flexibility and being able to do something over the summer is nice. And these other guys are willing to give up some of their time and come out, and I try to do the same for other players' foundations, because we all know it's for a good cause."
While the participants look forward to sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Blue Jays legends, Delgado has the July 22 date circled on his calendar for a multitude of reasons.
"I'm really looking forward to it from a few points of view," Delgado said. "One, it'll be nice to get to Toronto and spend the whole weekend there. Two, we'll hopefully be able to raise some money to help out the people in need. Three, I'll have a blast catching up with some former teammates and coaches that I haven't seen in a while."
Delgado added that he's also excited to welcome the event's participants to the Rogers Centre turf for batting practice and instructional drills, though he admitted a small part of that excitement may be for reasons beyond the obvious. While he's looking forward to mingling with the participants, Delgado confessed he's also eager to watch them quickly realize just how difficult the game can be.
"The best part of the day, aside from knowing we're helping out the kids, will be actually being out there on the field with the participants -- it's not as easy it looks," Delgado said, with a laugh. "It's different when you're watching from the stands and hollering about us striking out or dropping a ball. It's all in fun and charity though, and we're going to have a blast out there."
The event will be limited to 45 participants, all of whom will have the opportunity to participate in the on-field training and batting practice, take a tour of the Blue Jays' clubhouse and then watch the Blue Jays take on the Dodgers that evening from an Acura Luxury Suite with some of the legends. All guests will also receive a uniform, T-shirt, baseball cap and gift bag as part of their registration.
Interested fans can register for the event at www.bluejays.com/delgado or by calling the Blue Jays Baseball Academy at 416-341-2500.
Though Delgado and the Extra Bases Foundation have contributed to countless organizations and causes over the past dozen years, the slugger said this event is unique in that there are so many moving pieces that will make it all possible.
"It's going to be a fun event for those participants getting to meet some of their favorite players and live that dream of playing on the field," Delgado said. "At the same time, it's going to be a fun event for me seeing old teammates and coaches and interacting with our fans. And all of us are doing it knowing it's for a great cause, and we'll be helping kids who really need it."