New York Mets bring free baseball clinic to Bermuda

BERMUDA – Ron Darling, a former Major League Baseball All-Star starting pitcher who won a World Series Championship with the New York Mets in 1986, will host a free youth baseball clinic in Bermuda later this month.

The clinic is a newly added benefit of the Bermuda Department of Tourism’s partnership with the New York Mets and SportsNet New York (SNY) – the team’s television network.

Premier Dr. Ewart F. Brown, Minister of Tourism and Transport, said, “Our partnership with the Mets is first and foremost about exposing our Tourism product to Mets fans, but we are constantly looking for ways to make this partnership beneficial to all Bermudians – even those outside the Tourism industry. This is another such example.”

Mr. Darling will be in Bermuda during the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Break vacationing with his family. The trip to Bermuda will be a respite from his job as a television analyst for Mets broadcasts on SNY.

Mr. Darling said, “The fans in New York have been excited about Bermuda’s partnership with the Mets and SNY all season, and now I’m looking forward to teaching the future baseball stars on the island.”

The “Feel the Love Baseball Clinic with Ron Darling” will be held July 16, 2008 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm on the baseball fields at Southside. The clinic is open to boys and girls ages 8 to 15-years-old who have played organized baseball in the past and have at least a fundamental understanding of the game. Participants are required to bring their own baseball glove. All other baseball equipment will be provided.

Parents are welcome to attend and watch the clinic.

There will be an autograph signing with Ron Darling.

Newstead Belmont Hills is a sponsor of this event.

Minister of the Environment and Sport Elvin James has thrown the support of his Ministry behind the clinic.

Minister James said, “We want to give every young person in Bermuda the chance to excel in the sports of their choosing. For those who choose baseball this is an extremely rare opportunity. To have Ron Darling on our home soil is a thrill; I encourage young students of baseball to take advantage of Mr. Darling’s tutelage.”

The Bermuda Youth Athletic Organization (YAO) and the Bermuda Youth Sports Program (BYSP) have been informed of the clinic and have already registered dozens of players.

YAO District Administrator David Bedard said, “Little League Baseball is a thriving sport in Bermuda with 400 players taking to the fields each year at Southside. To have a clinic given by a true baseball legend is a rare opportunity for our young players and they are certain to gain a great deal.

“The Bermuda YAO Little League thanks the Department of Tourism and the New York Mets for arranging this event, an event which will surely enhance our players’ love for the game.”

BYSP League Commissioner Ric Williams said: “We have a lot of Bermuda’s youth who enjoy baseball, some of whom go to summer baseball camps in the U.S. For our players to have this take place in Bermuda, to work with someone of such a high caliber, is the opportunity of a lifetime.

“We are very thankful to the Department of Tourism for promoting this.”

All those interested in the “Feel the Love Baseball Clinic with Ron Darling” should send an e-mail to listing the participant’s name and age, a parent or guardian’s name, and a contact phone number. Each e-mailed entry will receive a reply confirming registration in the clinic.

The deadline for registration will be Tuesday, July 15th at 5:00 p.m.

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