Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The third day of the 2023 Los Angeles Dodgers Love L.A. Community Tour saw Dennis Powell and Kenny Landreaux help provide instruction, and Trayce Thompson and Kirsten Watson speak with local middle school students after the baseball skills camp at Darby Park in Inglewood.
The location was where the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation created two Dodgers Dreamfields in 2017, and the event coincided with the start of Black History Month.
African-American representation in Major League Baseball has been on the decline, and it was one reason Thompson found it necessary to share his story with students.
“As a Dodger, it’s something that’s really important to me,” he said. “To give back, there’s so many guys that have helped me along the way. It means a lot to give back.”
While in high school, Thompson participated in an Urban Youth Academy in Compton, where his name lines the outfield wall as a success story. Landreaux was among those who helped lead the camp and coach Thompson.
“A lot of guys that took me in as a raw basketball player that loved baseball, and helped me achieve my dreams, it means the world to me,” Thompson recalled. “I’ve always wanted to give back to them and do whatever I could. If I could impact one of those kids in the same way [Landreaux and coaches] helped me and impacted me, it means a lot.”
Among the topics Thompson discussed with Watson was the importance of establishing a routine, his favorite pregame meal being a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — “I love food,” he said. “Sometimes I like bad food.” — and the benefit of playing multiple sports.
When Watson asked the group how many were playing baseball for the first time, roughly half the predominantly Black students raised their hands. Similarly, the majority of them said they had experience playing basketball or football.
“It’s extremely important,” Thompson said of keeping active. “I remember growing up, I always thought about one hour a day. I was very blessed to have a mom that was super, super active, and my dad obviously played sports.
“Me and my brothers, I don’t ever remember us being inside. Even though we grew up in Oregon and it was raining two-thirds of the days, we were always outside doing something. Not that every kid out there is going to play professional sports, but for me and my brothers, that’s the reason we made it to where we did.
“We were always busy and keeping ourselves active. It’s extremely important for all kids to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Trayce Thompson’s role with Dodgers
After reviving his career with the Dodgers last season, Thompson now heads into 2023 with the prospect of arguably filling a larger role. But what that may entail has not been conveyed by the Dodgers front office.
“No, I don’t really think they need to,” answered Thompson when asked if the Dodgers have discussed his role during the offseason.
“I just show up and I’m ready for whatever. I’m ready to compete. It doesn’t matter what it is. I prepare every day the same, whether it’s during the season or offseason. I’m just ready to go.”
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