FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The baseball season in Alaska is short-lived, to say the least. The players are lucky to hit the diamond in late April or early May, while having to cram in as many games as possible in the limited time they are provided. This makes the offseason so important, having to work on their game in indoor batting cages and in local gyms. An easy way to keep youth baseball athletes engaged throughout the year is to bring major league talent to the area.
Houston Astros' hitting coach Troy Snitker and their minor league pitching coordinator Bill Murphy, instructed a Fairbanks clinic hosted by American Legion Baseball at Lathrop High School on Wednesday.
These coaches are used to working with professional players, who make a ton of money and have nearly unlimited access to all the tools they need to succeed. Snitker, son of Braves Manager Brian Snitker, appreciates these opportunities to get back to the basics.
"Anytime you can get back to the age level where all of that magic happens and when you fall in love with it [baseball], it is something special and definitely a great opportunity," Snitker said, who has spent the last four years in the Astros organization. "The game is the game, whether you're 30, 40 or whether you're 10, so it is definitely a great change up to, in the offseason, come to these clinics and camps and be able to pass the information and all this stuff down to guys that are just falling in love with the game for the first time and just learning and just figuring out what this is all about. It is really cool to see their passion for the game. I almost feel like, they care about it a little more because they get it taken away from them for so long during the season and they can't get outside."
The kids worked through different hitting techniques led by coach Snitker and proper throwing mechanics instructed by coach Murphy, who is grateful baseball is able to bring him different places in the country, teaching at different skill levels.
"They don't have a lot of people come out here so to be able to actually instruct people who want to learn about baseball and want to get better, that is the most rewarding part," Murphy said, who joined Houston's organization in 2016. "Hopefully, what happens is, maybe you get to see them play professionally one day, that would be really cool. It is fun to work with a whole bunch of different people from a different part of the country that you probably wouldn't get a chance to go to without having baseball as an opportunity to do that."
Offseason clinics such as these are crucial in the player's skill development and ensure the youth stays involved in America's pastime throughout the winter days.
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