PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – He is the hometown hero playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but Neil Walker wants to make sure the next generation learns to love the game of baseball.
Today, the “Pittsburgh Kid” spent some time with kids at a pro camp in Butler County.
More than 300 kids want to know what Pirates’ second baseman thinks.
“I think it’s a byproduct of baseball growing in this area, the Pirates’ organization growing, because kids look up to us so much and we know that, and that’s something I try to remember is that we can be such a positive role model in some of these kids’ lives,” Walker said.
The kids certainly appreciate his time and look up to Walker.
“He’s really fast and he hits really good and he’s really friendly to all of his teammates,” Alexia Brown said.
The Pittsburgh Pirates captured the imagination of this city in their run to the playoffs a year ago, but on this day at Seneca Valley, all eyes are were on Walker.
“That’s something that you try to convey to kids is that if you want to be a Major League baseball player, but you are spending three hours a day playing video games, it’s probably not going to work out for you,” Walker said.
The kids hung on every word and soaked up everything Walker told them.
“I watched baseball and I realized that my hobby is baseball,” Ryan Daniels said.
“I think focus and hustle and putting your mind toward what you are doing is so important and that’s something that has gotten me to the point where I am in my career is being so specific when it comes to your goals and your dreams,” Walker said.
For a kid who grew up playing baseball and football at Pine-Richland, Walker knows full well that America’s past-time sometimes plays second fiddle.
“Everybody knows it’s kind of a football area first, but the Pirates and youth baseball is growing so much and I want to be a part of that and I want to get the kids excited,” Walker said.