Blue Jays: Alek Manoah hosts annual youth baseball camp in his hometown
As if anyone really needed any more reasons to love Toronto Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah, he has gone out and further padded his case for most lovable guy in the league.
On the mound, he has emerged as one of the best in the business. Last year, he followed up a strong 2021 with an even more impressive performance. In 31 starts, the big 6-foot-6 righty went 16-7, posted a 2.24 ERA, made the All-Star team and even secured a third place finish in the AL Cy Young Award voting.
During this offseason, Manoah has stayed active, doing just as much off the field as he does on it.
Every year, Manoah travels down to his hometown of Homestead, Florida, to host a youth baseball clinic appropriately titled Alek Manoah Camp. This takes place at South Dade Senior High School, where the now-25-year-old attended school.
Over this past weekend, Manoah was joined by his brother Erik (also a baseball player), Astros first baseman J.J. Matijevic, Blue Jays infielder Santiago Espinal, Guardians pitcher Touki Toussaint and Blue Jays minor leaguer Adam Kloffenstein. Local coaches attended as well, including Jonathan Fernández, the son of Blue Jays legend Tony Fernández.
This year's event was the second installment and is aimed at providing the youth of South Florida (ages four through 15) gain access to training and advice from current professional players and coaches. Last year, around 50 people attended. This year? Well over 100.
It's clear that Manoah holds his hometown close to his heart, and his impact cannot be overstated. There is a banner dedicated specifically to him from the 2021 graduating class hanging on the back of the stands.
This year's camp consisted of stretches, pitching and hitting courses, how to catch pop flies, how to turn double plays, a Q&A and a whole lot more. Manoah's camp is a truly special event for all to enjoy, even his mother, who bounced around the camp and made friends with everyone she could find.
"I just want to be somebody who, you know, played at the same parks that they play at, sat at the same classrooms, did all that stuff. I want to be somebody who's there for them so that they can say, ‘Hey, you know what? Manoah did exactly what we're doing right now. We can make it the same way he made it'", Manoah told MLB.com.