CHICAGO (CBS) — With the Cubs enjoying their first day off in more than two weeks, star second basemen Javier Baez spent his morning teaching the basics of baseball to kids hoping to be the next generation of Major League stars.
“This is the future, man. This is what it’s all about,” Baez said at a youth baseball camp Monday morning in Elk Grove Village.
Baez joined several high school and college coaches to teach a camp of more than 500 boys and girls in grades 1-8 the fundamentals of baseball.
“I think it’s really important for the parents to bring their kids here, and just to learn the right way,” he added.
Widely considered one of the savviest defensive players and best baserunners in baseball, Baez said that success does not come easy.
“I make it look easy, but it’s really not. This game, you fail more than you succeed,” he said. “It’s really hard, and it’s really important to make adjustments, and to be ready mentally to fail.”
Baez said he tries to pass those same lessons on to kids.
Baez’s youthful enthusiasm and high energy level are a big part of what makes him one of the Cubs’ most popular players among young fans, and that’s not lost on the team’s up-and-coming star.
“Every time I see a kid, I always think they’re too young to see what’s going on, but they mention all these crazy plays that I do, and they understand the game really good, more than I think they did,” he said.
While Baez played a pivotal role for the Cubs during their World Series run in 2016, he’s now turning into a bonafide star. Up to this point in 2018, he has posted career bests in batting average and slugging percentage; while setting a pace to finish with career highs in doubles, home runs, RBI, and runs scored in a season; and already setting single season marks for stolen bases and triples.