The Mets have had their share of comebacks recently, but on Wednesday Bobby Parnell, Wilmer Flores and Michael Conforto gave back.
The trio instructed young campers at the Play Ball clinic at Hinton Park in the North Corona section of Queens late in the morning, several hours before the third of four games against the visiting Colorado Rockies.
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Play Ball is an MLB and USA Baseball initiative to grow the game at the most basic levels.
"It was fun," Flores said. "The kids, they had a lot of fun. First of all, they're Mets fans, so they really appreciated this."
The three Mets were placed at separate stations. Parnell worked on throwing and pitching mechanics, Flores taught infield defense techniques and Conforto instructed campers who were hitting off tees.
Each Met could be seen smiling throughout the hourlong clinic, making small talk with campers and slapping high-fives. Conforto even flashed an improvised secret handshake of sorts with Mr. Met, whose entrance to the park disrupted nearby lessons as kids jockeyed to bump fists with the mascot.
"It reminds me of when I was a little kid," Flores said. "You just go out there and have fun. You don't care what you do. You just have fun."
But Flores said he could not remember having an opportunity like this as a kid growing up in Venezuela, to learn from the professional ballplayers he admired.
"That's why I do it," Flores said, referring to his participation.
Despite the age difference, Parnell said it was fun and easy to communicate with the campers.
"I think baseball is universal," he said. "I think once you get out there and start playing the game, it's easy to find something to relate about, you know, get the ball out, stay balanced. It's very easy talk."
Plus, it helped to have students who were eager to learn.
"They want to play the game," Parnell said. "That's why they're here. They enjoy it. It's just, go out there and try to teach them a fun way to play the game."