ARCADIA — Baseball has given Jerry Blevins the means and the opportunity to do pretty much whatever he wants to do.
What he wants to do is give something back.
Theres nothing I would change about where I grew up and how I grew up. It made me who I am and Im honored to be part of this community, Blevins said Tuesday before conducting, for the third straight year, a free baseball clinic for young ballplayers at the Arcadia Community Park.
Blevins, a left-handed relief pitcher for the New York Mets, had some time off with baseball on a three-day break because of the All-Star Game. Financially, hes well enough off that he could have spent those few days in any swanky resort or fancy spa of his choosing.
Arcadia offered neither swanky or fancy. But it offered something nowhere else did it is home.
Baseball is definitely a big piece of my life. Apart from the ability to provide for my family its opened many doors for me to be who I am, Blevins said.
Growing up, travel was always a passion of mine. I always knew there was more out there than northwest Ohio. I wanted to see the world and taste other cultures. Baseball allowed me to do that, but it also gave me the chance to appreciate where I come from.
My roots are here. My wife and I live here. Were going to raise our son here, and if we have kids in the future they will be from here.
Im super proud to have Hancock County and Seneca County and all of this be a part of my existence. Its the people around you who make you who you are. Thats why I like be able to do something like this and give something back.
The young ballplayers attending Blevins camp on Tuesday would get valuable tips from a real Major Leaguer. But some of the most relatable lessons Blevins could provide go beyond basic fundamentals.
Standing 6-foot-6 and a lean 190 pounds, Blevins does not fit the mold of a muscle-bound athlete.
Every time I meet someone for the first time, they always say, Wow, you look bigger in person that you do on TV, Blevins said.
Im like, Yeah, on TV Im even skinnier than I am in real life. The problem is, on TV Im surrounded by guys who are 6-7, 250, or 6-5, 210. At 6-6, 190 thats pretty big in every day life. But on the field I look smaller because Im surrounded by monsters.
Blevins’ message is: Dont judge the product by the package.
Sportswriter Dave Hanneman will have more on Wednesday.