by: Paul Drewes
Seeing is believing for young Hawaii baseball players who catch a couple of important lesson from a pro player visiting the islands.
They gather for more than just a game! Young baseball players also get a chance to learn from a major leaguer.
Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett is back in town to teach kids one of the most important aspects of playing ball.
"Kids can get instruction all they want, but the one thing i wanted them to take from this camp was playing baseball is supposed to be fun." says Michael Barrett.
Barrett had fun when, like current Honolulu Shark players, he wore the Hawaii Winter League uniform back in 1996.
" I played a decade ago but it seems like yesterday when i get here, it was a great experience to play here."
And it was here that this big league catcher made a big change to his game.
"I switched over from shortstop to catcher and it gave me a chance to learn a position i had never played before."
But along with baseball instruction for young players, Barrett is here to see that these kids in the Cal Ripken camp also have no trouble...seeing. Vision screening of young athletes is held to make sure players have no problems at the park.
"Athleticism is important but if you don't have good vision, its hard to play baseball."
Its an important lesson many of these possible future winter leaguers have already learned.
"Its very important, cause you need to see the ball to hit it and throw it" says 11 year old Aron Okamoto.
For his work on and off the field here in Hawaii, these young athletes also have a little aloha to share with big leaguer Barrett.