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Yankee star in NZ to preach baseball

Published: 6:43PM Thursday January 20, 2011 Source: ONE Sport

He plays for one of the most famous sporting institutions in the world and gets paid more than the whole All Blacks' squad combined but with New York Yankee Curtis Granderson you would never know it.

Granderson, who is in New Zealand running baseball clinics at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Auckland from January 22-24, is an impressive young man.

The Yankees centre fielder, 29, who can count Major League Baseball superstars Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter as his team-mates, has a double degree from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

No mean feat for a professional baseball player and especially one from an American African background.

"It's actually a little more difficult now (being a professional African American baseball player) than it was ten, twenty and thirty years ago," Granderson told ONE News.

"Back in that time the African American population in the game of baseball was around 33%. Now it's just about 7%.

"The reasons for the decline can be for numerous amounts of reasons. The introduction of new sports, extreme sports, different interests and lack of interest in the game as well.

"So we're fighting that constant battle to try and introduce the game to different parts of the world, like we're doing here, to the African Americans and other ethnicities throughout not only the United States but the world."

It's a challenge Granderson is more than ready to take on over the next week and his advice to youngsters getting into the sport is refreshingly simple.

"The first thing, have fun no matter what, win lose or draw if you have fun doing it, you're going to be more willing to work."

And Granderson knows that better than most.

Curtis Granderson Public Events in New Zealand

22 Jan, 4pm
Baseball Skills Clinic (5-13years), Lloyd Elsmore Baseball Park

23 Jan, 10am
Baseball Skills Clinic (14years+), Lloyd Elsmore Baseball Park

24 Jan, 10am
Coaching Clinic, Lloyd Elsmore Baseball Park

24-28 Jan, 10am
MLB Road Show, Lloyd Elsmore Baseball Park

24 Jan, 5:30pm
An Evening with Curtis Granderson, Sky City Grand Hotel

25 Jan, 10am
AA Oceania Championship, Lloyd Elsmore Baseball Park