Story By: Hal Jalikakik
Photos By: Sol Tucker
For many athletes there are plenty of superstitious rituals they have. Perhaps wearing the same shirt for weeks during a winning streak, a certain model bat for a game, or a particular favorite food are some of the things we have seen in the past with athletes at all levels. But what about the success of good karma received from giving back to the community and helping the kids of the future the morning before a game?
This is exactly what happened to Trea Turner today, as he went 5 for 5 with a walk in the afternoon game at Nationals Park after attending the Washington Celebrity Baseball Camp at Georgetown University that morning.
So you may ask, what is the correlation between good karma and Trea having a career day at the plate? Every player that the Washington Celebrity Baseball camp team has hosted as part of their camp that gives back to the local youth around D.C has netted their player a career day.
Previously, Washington Celebrity Baseball has hosted the camp with former Nationals Catcher and now Rays Catcher Wilson Ramos, who had two career games in both years he attended the camp. Prior to that outfielder, Roger Bernadina went 3 for 3 at the plate and made a Sports Center Top 10 catch the night following the camp.
“It’s the impact they make on these kids and how they feel when they leave here and the chance to spend an hour with a major league player with the caliber of Trea, doesn’t exist very often,” said camp co-founder and Director, Andrew Lang. Something we are giving these kids rubs off on the players when they take the field the same day. First it was Bernie ( Bernadina) then Ramos, now Trea, you would have to say that giving kids an experience like this, someone watches over the athlete for the good they did that day. The stats the day of a game after our camp speak for themselves.
For some other karma related stats that have dated back to previous Washington Celebrity Camps, check out these numbers. Nationals Rookie Pitcher Taylor Jordan scored his first career win on July 28, 2013 after attending the camp. Ian Desmond attended the Gio Gonzalez camp and went on one of his best streaks of his career going 9-15 in the next four games. Call it what you want, but the numbers don’t like and Turner becomes another player that has added a career day to his resume after giving back.
Former Nationals Pitcher, Ross Detwiler, also took part in the camps and just wanted to come out and give back to the community during the camp. He declined any appearance fees and wanted to help raise more funds for youth to learn the game with his appearance.
Another Nationals player that was part of these “lucky camps” was Nationals player Anthony Rendon. He attended a camp on August8 ,2013, which was a day off for the team. the very next day, he blasted his 6th career home run.
Keeping up with the numbers on karma performances is tough, it just seems to continue to happen. There probably has not been a catcher who does a camp for kids and three hours later, makes MLB history catching Max Sherzer’s first career no-hitter on June 20, 2015. This is one of the most memorable according to Lang and his staff.
The sports camps have generated so much interest from the good karma and luck on the field, that even other players not invited to camps have called Lang to inquire about donating their time in return for good luck on the field. Former Nationals standout and fan favorite, Michael Morse texted Lang after the camp in 2014 and said, “when I can do a camp with you guys.” At the time, they didn’t have the capacity to add another camp for Morse, but with these kinds of numbers of memorable moments for a player, who knows who the next call Lang may take on his phone.
“It’s amazing to get out front of the kids and talk to them directly about what I did to make it to the big leagues and also answer some of their questions about the game and life inside of the clubhouse. I am happy to take part in a camp like this and hopefully see some of these kids make to the next level,” said Turner.
Each year, the Washington Celebrity Baseball Camp has hosted top caliber athletes and instruction since its inception in 2012, when they brought former Nationals closer Chad Cordero back for a camp in Bethesda. They have also given generously to the community to kids that may not be able to attend camps such as this one through donations of camp spots, where they have covered the cost of the admission for each of those kids.
This year, they also hosted Jude Oz, Jayson Werth’s Superfan, who during the week made a special trip from Colorado to see her favorite player here in D.C , but also continued her efforts for St. Baldricks, most recently shaving her head for the charity, but also hosting a equipment drive with the Potomac Nationals to help other kids who need equipment to play the game.
Celebrity Sports Camps has presented camps with other stars such as Jacob DeGrom, in which he won rookie of year in the year he participated. Others have included the now retired Red Sox David Ortiz and others around the league, including Wade Miley of the Baltimore Orioles.
It is safe to say that this camp continues to do amazing things for the community and have a lasting impact on all of the kids in attendance.