LOVEJOY - Griffin High School alum and current Baltimore Orioles third baseman Tim Beckham hopes to by a role model for the next young baseball stars.
"Happy to use my platform," said Beckham. "I'm blessed with the ability I have to make a difference in our community."
Beckham hosted his third annual camp on Saturday at the Baseball Genius Academy in Lovejoy, a new facility run by his brother. He also brought some former teammates, including a pair from his time with the Tampa Bay Rays, pitcher Chris Archer and outfielder Mallex Smith. Smith played for the Braves before heading to Tampa.
On Saturday, they, along with other adult players and coaches, put a large group of kids through a variety of drills. The major leaguers were hands on: from showing how to grip a baseball, to Archer demonstrating a good wind-up to all of them watching batting practice in the cages.
Since being traded from the Rays to Baltimore last July, Beckham started playing some of the best baseball of his career. He hit over .300 with the Orioles and had 10 home runs in just 50 games. Maybe it was a good reset for a guy who admits there was pressure as a former number one overall draft pick -- which he was for Tampa Bay in the 2008 MLB Draft.
"Coming up through the minor leagues, a lot of expectations on you," said Beckham. "Getting drafted at a young age, it forces you to mature quick."
"Honestly, we were disappointed when he left," said Archer, who spent time alongside Beckham in the minor leagues before both joined the Rays roster. "We know how good of a player he is. I think [the trade] was good for Tim. He got a clean state, start brand new."
Beckham says his parents and two older brothers pushed him to continue working even through tough times working his way to the majors. Now there's more work to be done: this year Beckham is moving to third base after a career playing shortstop.
"I just want to embrace it," said Beckham. "If it helps our club win ballgames, I'm more than happy to accept the challenge."
The former Griffin Bear says he's excited to head down to Orioles Spring Training in Florida in the next few weeks, and is proud one of his last weekends back home was spent working with kids.