Carter inspires Baseball World campers
Chris Carter displayed his determination in actions and words at Wakeman Field on Friday. A backup outfielder and first baseman for the New York Mets, Carter taught the campers of Baseball World how to hit and relayed to them how his resolve contributed to his ascension to Major League Baseball (MLB).
After being drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, he played in their minor league system and the Washington Nationals' minor league system before making his MLB debut with the Boston Red Sox on June 5, 2008. After playing sparingly for the Red Sox in 2008 and 2009, he was traded in 2010 to the Mets as the player to be named later in the 2009 deal for Billy Wagner.
Before Carter was drafted, he got his degree in human biology at Stamford University. His drive enabled him to complete his studies in three years.
"I was really determined and focused and I didn't sleep much," Carter said on his accelerated path to his degree.
While at Stamford, he played baseball for the Cardinal and his coach told him he wasn't good enough to play at the collegiate level.
Once he heard his coach's criticism, he had two options, accept it and move on or prove him wrong. He chose the latter, which is apropos for him and he was successful in this endeavor.
"I don't where my determination comes from," Carter said. "I was determined to do it and I went for it."
Baseball World instructor Dave "Big Daddy" Rogers said, "Like a lot of successful baseball players, he realized the competition was tougher and more intense in college and he had to work harder to succeed. It's the same thing in life, the higher up the ladder you are, the more competitive it is."
He grew up in Concord, Calif. and first learned how to bounce back from adversity after suffering an injured left knee.
"When I came back from an injury, I learned about hard work and staying determined," Carter said.
In fact, New York Mets Manager Jerry Manuel nicknamed him "The Animal" because of his relentless drive and work ethic. During his presentation, he preached the importance of hard work and told the campers they should not be afraid to ask questions. Moreover, he stressed to the kids that the lessons they learn through baseball, they can apply to everything in life.
"I thought he was great today," Baseball World owner Vince Diaco said. "Not only did he go over the mechanics of hitting, he went over the mental approach of the game. For example, he said it important to have confidence in yourself, which you obtain through practice and repetition."
Carter instructed the campers to hit with a good solid foundation, to bend their legs and to follow through. He told them to choke up when they have two strikes and try to make contact and after the kids hit the ball, he'd say something positive to them. For example, he said to one kid, "That's a great swing, baseball is not that easy," and to another kid, he said, "That was great, Trevor."
"He was short and simple in saying how to track the ball from the pitcher's hand," Rogers said. "I applaud when he said to choke up when there's two strikes. I stress it until I'm blue in the face. I say with two strikes, choke up, make contact, put it in play for a hit and not to swing for the fences."
The campers relished the opportunity of meeting Carter.
CES fourth grader Matt Tanzer said, "I learned you have to have great plate coverage and I thought he was very nice."
Alex Settos, a fifth grader at CES said, "I'm a St. Louis Cardinals fan but Chris Carter was very nice and is a very good instructor. I learned how to stay balanced at the plate and I will apply it when I play."
Carter, in turn, enjoyed his experience at Baseball World.
"I think the kids were great and it was really fun to be there," Carter said. "I think the kids are well taught and are learning the fundamentals of baseball."