Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey Gives Back To Kids Through Baseball
By Melissa Verge
Blue Jays outfielder Dalton Pompey’s career is just beginning, but he is already looking to give back to kids through baseball in the Toronto area.
Pompey held a clinic in Ajax, and is holding one in Waterloo on Feb. 6.
His face lights up when he talks about helping the kids.
“Those kids they always have a blast,” he says.
I picture twenty screaming kids hyped up on bubble gum, running around the bases and swinging bats wildly. Possibly picking large clumps of grass from the outfield, and throwing it up in the air enthusiastically.
Having a blast certainly does sound like the correct terminology.
“They’re kind of in awe, but at the same time they’re just trying to have a good time, and I think that’s what this game is about,” says Pompey.
He himself grew up in Mississauga, so for these kids, it makes him even more of a role model. Pompey is a Canadian that made it, and now plays for Canada’s only MLB team. This is a guy these kids can really learn from and look up to.
Pompey understands that being in this role model position means he has to be careful of what he says and what he does.
“I know a lot of people watch me, especially a lot of kids around here,” he says.
“I am an inspiration for them to follow their dreams, whether it’s as an athlete or anything they want to do in life. Just to show them it’s possible.”
This means Pompey has to in some circumstances act older than his 23 years.
“I have to watch my P’s and Q’s with what I do,” he adds. “I’ve gotten better at it, but I’m human and sometimes I make mistakes.”
As for his own career, Pompey says that playing in the postseason really helped his confidence. He was a pinch runner during the games the Blue Jays played in October.
“I was nervous of course, but I was able to translate that into some positive results. Going into the offseason I kind of knew what it felt like to take my game to that next level even though I wasn’t playing every day. In that atmosphere and in that environment to perform, it was really big for my confidence.”
Going into the regular season in April, Pompey says his focus will be more on short term goals of what he wants to accomplish on a game to game basis.
“Whether it’s diving for a ball, throwing a guy out, having a walk.” Just little things that keep me in the game and take the pressure off of just trying to get hits and RBIs. I think it will be beneficial for me in the long run,” he says.
Pompey wants to make sure he’s playing for the Blue Jays for all 162 games of the season.
“My goal is to earn a starting role or a spot on my team and keep it. That wasn’t what I did last year, I earned the role but I didn’t keep it. I think it’s a lot harder to stay in the major leagues then to just make it.”
Looking towards the upcoming season, he says that there’s a lot of enthusiasm.
“I think everyone’s excited,” Pompey said.
“All the guys are excited, and I’m definitely exited to hopefully build of what we did last year. It’s definitely attainable, most of the guys are still coming back from last year and we got some new faces as well. I’m assuming they’re going to be extremely motivated as well.”
I picture these grown men excited about the start of the season. Maybe they will act like children, going to the field hyped up on bubble gum, swinging bats wildly and occasionally chucking grass into the air with gusto.
It is a heartwarming thought.
Pompey says the thing to remember is “It’s a kid’s game, we’re all just grown men playing it.” “That’s the way you kind of have to approach it, and that’s what I’m going to try to do moving forward.”