MIAMI – New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez returned to his roots Tuesday, paying a visit to a group of children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade.
The three-time American League most valuable player is in South Florida for an interleague series with the Miami Marlins.
Rodriguez, 39, grew up in Miami and began his baseball career under the lights at the Hank Kline Club field.
"When I was 9, I learned how to play baseball on that field right there," Rodriguez told the children, pointing to the nearby baseball diamond.
Rodriguez later attended Westminster Christian High School, where he became the first overall pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 1993 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
Growing up, Rodriguez said, he didn't know whether his favorite sport was football or baseball.
"I grew up watching (former Miami Dolphins quarterback) Dan Marino," Rodriguez said. "Dan Marino wore No. 13. Today I wear No. 13."
Rodriguez credited the Boys & Girls Clubs with helping him find his "first love."
"It was on that field when I was 9 years old that I first fell in love with baseball," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez spent time teaching the children how to properly grip a baseball bat and offered pointers on how to play the game he loves.
"I'm a Boys & Girls Club kid, so we're family," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez chose 50 children from the Boys & Girls Clubs to be his guests at Monday night's game at Marlins Park. Miami defeated the Yankees 2-1.
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