Toronto Blue Jays charity makes $26K donation towards Mount Pearl field

Former Jays players were on hand Monday to present the big cheque, and show young players a thing or two about the game.
The Jays Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays, announced significant investment in local youth baseball programs. 1:05

Former Toronto Blue Jays greats arrived in Mount Pearl Monday armed with a big gift: a $26,000 donation from the Jays' charity foundation towards improving the city's Greenwood ballfield.

"We do this across Canada, and it's our way of giving back. It's a lot of fun," said Jesse Barfield, a former Jays outfielder and Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star.

"Sports is a way of getting away from the hustle and bustle and the negative things of the world... this is a positive," he said.

The Jays Care Foundation made its donation, after a pitch from the Mount Pearl Minor Baseball Association.

Some of the young Mount Pearl players, waiting for their chance to train with real Blue Jays. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

"We believe that baseball is a great tool to teach kids life skills. For us, a diamond is like a classroom," said Robert Witchel, the foundation's executive director.

The charity didn't just make the cash contribution on Monday: Barfield and several other former Jays stuck around to run a training camp with kids.

Barfield hoped the young players and the baseball association will see the trickle-down effect of soon having a better field to play on.

"You better the fields, you better the kids, and it draws them to it," he said, paraphrasing some Field of Dreams inspiration.

"You build it, they'll come."

Ex-Jays outfielder Jesse Barfield was on hand Monday to show young Mount Pearl players a few tips and tricks on the ballfield. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

With files from Mark Quinn