Tejada taking time out for kids
Astros shortstop Miguel Tejada performed clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday at local YMCA branches. Before each Wednesday home game, Tejada hosts 20 Houston area kids from low-income families to Tejada’s Troops.
Purchased by Tejada, each participant receives a field-level ticket to the game along with $10 in Astros Bucks that can be spent at Minute Maid Park. The experience also includes watching Astros batting practice from the field and the chance to spend time with the five-time All-Star.
Tejada fielded a wide range of questions Wednesday, ranging from his fears to how many kids he has. Among the things Tejada told the group was his favorite travel city was New York and his favorite player growing up was Alfredo Griffin, who is also from the Dominican Republic. Tejada also told the kids to pursue their dreams.
“I like to come speak to children because where I came from kids didn’t have the opportunity to talk to people like me and a lot of people look at me like a role model,” he said. “I came from nothing and look where I am. A lot of bad things can happen and kids can go in a lot of directions.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t have the opportunity to meet Major League players or have famous people to talk to. I wish back in the day, a professional player would have talked to me.”
The Astros announced that the club has finalized the details of a build-to-lease agreement for a new complex for their Dominican Republic operations. The lease was entered into with D. & F. Sport Field Services, S.A, and will be for a five-year term with an option to renew twice, each option for an additional five-year period.
“The new complex in the Dominican Republic is a huge step forward in our player development process,” general manager Ed Wade said. “The facility will allow us to further the on-field development of our young Latin players along with giving us the opportunities to enhance their diets and provide them with English lessons that will allow them to function at a higher level when they move along the development chain in the United States.
“We’re excited about the advances that we’re making on the international front, and this is one more clear indication of our commitment to find and develop the best talent on a worldwide basis.”
The all-inclusive academy will be located in the Guerra Region of Boca Chica, D.R., and will be conveniently located a half-mile from the new Tampa Bay Rays and L.A. Dodgers facilities, as well as in the same area as the Kansas City Royals and other Major League Dominican Academies. The Astros current Dominican Operations resides in San Pedro de Macoris, D.R.
The complex will consists of two-and-a-half baseball playing fields, six-pack pitching mounds, batting cages and an observation tower among other amenities.
The facility will also include a two-story building with the first floor consisting of administrative offices, educational classrooms, a dining room, full-service industrial kitchen, weight room, training room, manager and coaches offices and locker rooms, equipment room, clubhouse, and laundry room. On the second floor of the building will be player and staff living accommodations, along with a computer lab with 15-20 work stations and a player entertainment room.
The academy should be fully functional by the start of the 2010 Dominican Summer League season.