GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The first baseball camp started with a simple idea from Colorado Rockies scout Rick Mathews.
"He came to me and said, 'Hey Tim, do you think that Casper would be receptive to a good baseball camp?' and I said, 'I do.'"
At the time, Tim Ray was the general manager for the Casper Ghosts, now known as the Grand Junction Rockies. The baseball camp soon turned into 11 successful years of training young athletes, and now, it's moved to the Western Slope.
"We're excited about doing it here," said camp director and founder Rick Mathews. "Hopefully we can have a continual run of years here in Grand Junction like we did in Casper."
Even a former player of the Casper Ghosts who has now moved into the major leagues came ready to give back.
"To be able to influence these younger kids and just to be able to help out the organization and give them a poitive name towards it, that's all I'm here for," said Colorado Rockies third baseman Jordan Pacheco.
And in just a few years, who knows what familiar face could show up.
"Once we start getting Grand Junction Rockies players into the big leagues, they're going to be coming back and giving back to the community," added Ray, "so this is just the first of many camps to come."
But it's not all about the fame.
"I'm just trying to give back to the game," said Mathews. "I love doing it. I love the kids. I try to give them a message about life as well as about the game of baseball."
"You never know what you could say to some little kid that's going to stick with them for the rest of their life," said Pacheco.
Helping to keep America's pastime around for decades to come.
"It's a continual outreach to spread the Rockies gospel, if you will, and get people excited about this franchise," said Ray. "It's not only a franchise for Grand Junction, it's a franchise for the entire Western Slope."
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