Hillel Day Campers were treated to a day of fun with a pair of New York Mets players when infielders Wilmer Flores and T.J. Rivera visited on July 21.
This was the third year that the camp, affiliated with HAFTR, hosted members of the Mets.
The kids split off into two groups and had either Flores or Rivera pitch to them. After taking their swings the kids formed a line for autographs. The camp provided photos of the two players, but many campers brought their own memorabilia — hats, baseballs and shirts — that they asked the players to sign.
Despite an even mix of Yankee and Mets fans among the campers, there were smiles all around. Jacob Grossman, one of the Hillel coaches and a self-described hardcore Mets fan, said the kids have been looking forward to this day. “100 percent, they’ve been very excited about it, meeting the players every year is really great for them,” he said.
Coby Agamie, 9, has met other Mets in previous years but was excited nonetheless.
His favorite part was “ getting the autograph and then getting to hit,” Agamie said.
Cooper Sobel, also 9, was especially excited to meet Rivera and Flores, as he said his father was getting them tickets to a game very soon. His favorite player, Yoenis Cespedes, may not have been there, but Sobel was still beaming after getting an autograph.
Camp Director Ari Solomon believes that everyone gets something out of events like this.
The children have “a great time, they love seeing the stars come out [and] I think the stars like to come out to play with the kids as well.”
It would appear that Solomon is right.
“It’s giving the kids something to smile about,” Rivera said, “it’s really for the kids, just let them enjoy some time with the players.”
Flores agreed. “It’s the smiles on their faces, it’s really cool,” he said. “Whenever I was growing up I never had this in my schools, so I really like doing this for the kids.”