Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ghost Players Offer Baseball Lessons and Some Laughs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ghost Players Offer Baseball Lessons and Some Laughs

Article excerpt

Byline: Tracy Spengler, County Line correspondent

Softball and baseball fans received a real treat last week when the Field of Dreams Ghost Players, often referred to as the "Harlem Globetrotters of Baseball," visited Clay County's Paul C. Armstrong Park, home to the only adult softball league in Clay County.

Since 1990, the Ghost Players, featuring some of the ballplayers from the movie Field of Dreams, (which was based on W.P. Kinsella's book Shoeless Joe and starred Kevin Costner) have attended special events all over the world as ambassadors of the United States.

The event was free and enthusiasts of all ages were treated to several hours of education -- but mostly entertainment -- while enjoying the great American pastime.

In addition to the youth clinics (which included hitting, pitching, outfield, base running and infield), the Ghosts performed a comedy softball routine with volunteers from the audience and a celebrity all-star game featuring WOKV radio personalities Cole Pepper, Scott Thomas and Joe Fortunato.

After a brief warm-up session, the kids broke into small groups and joined the Ghost Players who guided them through each 10-minute clinic.

"You're going to hear different things from different coaches," said Frank Dardis, one of the players who appeared in the movie and worked the hitting clinic. "That's OK. We're just here to help and answer any questions you may have."

Many wide-eyed and star-struck kids were eager to learn the tricks of the trade from the players, all of whom have played either college or semi-professional ball.

"I brought my team here today to pick up a couple of pointers," said Keith Reed, assistant coach for the Tanglewood Glory, a 10-year-old-and-under traveling baseball team. "They're really excited."

The highlight of the evening was the 45-minute comedy routine hosted by player John Rotz. After selecting several willing kids and (not-so-willing) adults out of the audience, the game began -- and so did the laughter. …

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