SCARSDALE, N.Y. The days are getting warmer, the trees are blossoming and kids everywhere are beginning to think about baseball. A few dozen young enthusiasts showed up Tuesday night at the Scarsdale Public Library to meet a member of the Rockland Boulders and the team's mascot, Boulder Bird.
Boulder outfielder Norm Hutchins was on hand to talk about his long pro career and to answer some questions from young baseball lovers. Hutchins, 36, has played pro ball for 18 years, signing with the California Angels in 1994 just out of Lincoln High School in Yonkers.
Hutchins, who was Angels Minor League Player of the Year in 1996, made it as far as Triple A ball, and had retired in 2010 before being asked to join the Boulders, about 20 minutes from his home in Sleepy Hollow.
"These days it's a new thing for me to be speaking to the kids," Hutchins said. "I teach baseball also. Me and kids get along good."
The first question he fielded from one of the children Tuesday night "Can you show us how fast you are?" drew a smile and a brief pause. "I can't do that in here," Hutchins said. "You're going to have to come to the ballpark to see that."
The event opened with a slideshow promoting the team, aimed at the parents, complete with seating charts and ticket prices. Some of the kids brought along bats and gloves in hopes of getting in a little training, but the evening was more of a chance for them to hear about a young man who grew up in a single-parent home in a rough neighborhood who worked hard and found success doing what he loved.
David Luftig, 10, of Bronxville, said he just wanted to get any tips at all, any knowledge he could pick up from Hutchins. Luftig has played organized ball for the past two years, said his father, Steven, who said he plans to take in some Boulders games this year.
The Boulders play in the Can-Am League, an independent league with teams in Newark and Upper Montclair, N.J.; Worcester, Mass.; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; and Pomona in Rockland County. Last year, the team finished 21-25. Former Yankees pitcher Dave LaPoint is the manager.
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