The Arizona Diamondbacks held a training center in Winslow last week with 42 young players participating in the 17 1/2 hours of instruction over the five day period. Gilbert Mesquite High School baseball coach Mike Masciangelo headed the Winslow and Holbrook centers and was assisted by Winslow High School baseball coach Art Griffith and assistant coach Mike Dobosh.
According to Masciangelo, the curriculum for the camp was developed by co-ordinator Jeff Rodin. The goal of the camp directors is to teach the fundamentals of baseball and to teach drills which the players can use with family, friends and coaches to better hone their skills. Rodin had experience running such camps with the Chicago White Sox and envisions putting together a Diamondback complex for use as a training facility for young players and for fantasy baseball camps for adults.
The Winslow center began on June 5 with only 27 participants enrolled, but attracted an impressive 16 walk-up participants during the day. The Holbrook center had 16 participants. Masciangelo said that the Mesa center had 51 participants from a much larger area and a Tempe center had 81 participants scheduled for training.
The instructions included drills which are designed to teach the youngsters to field, throw and hit a baseball properly and safely. Among the many drills are some "oldies" which ball players have used since the 1800's like "pepper" and some relatively new drills such as hitting properly off a tee.
The Diamondback organization is sponsoring similar camps around the state and in High Desert, California and El Paso, Texas, where there are affiliated minor league teams. With the success enjoyed in Winslow this year, it is highly likely that the team will hold a similar camp here next season.