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Mets pitcher Corey Oswalt meets Long Island kids

He talks about his baseball dream as a boy, his parents' influence, his go-to pitch and his favorite places to play.

New York Mets pitcher Corey Oswalt at Citi

New York Mets pitcher Corey Oswalt at Citi Field with Kidsday reporters Braden Haas, left, Brady Spreckels, Paige Manning and Bridget Spreckels of Cherry Avenue Elementary School, West Sayville. Photo Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

We recently visited Citi Field and met up with Mets pitcher Corey Oswalt.

Today, many young girls are playing baseball, but baseball is highly associated as a male sport. Do you think women should have their own league?

Yes. I think if they want to play baseball or any sport, they should be able to do that. So I’m definitely for that. I think that would be awesome.

If you could go back in time and face any batter, who would you choose?

I think if I could go back in time I would face Tony Gwynn. He was like one of my idols when I was growing up. So probably him.

Does your uniform number, 55, have any special meaning?

You know, usually growing up, my favorite number was always 10. But then when I got here, they gave me the number. So in my head, I just think 5 plus 5 is 10. So I’m happy the way it works out. Yeah, this is the number they gave me.

What is your favorite sport other than baseball?

It is definitely basketball. I played basketball through high school as well. It’s just real fun and it’s a good workout, too.

When did you know that you wanted to play baseball?

I do love playing baseball — it started when I was 5. I really wanted to play professionally, once I got to high school. It kind of went from there. Year to year I just progressed and I realized I wanted to do that.

What is your favorite stadium to pitch at other than Citi Field?

Citi Field is a great place. It’s probably my favorite place to pitch. But other than Citi Field I’d probably say pitching in Boston was really cool. Fenway is pretty cool. It’s awesome.

What special routines do you do before a game?

I just do like the full-body stretch. Stretch out my legs, my shoulders. And then before the game starts I do my little routine for about 10 minutes, and then the game starts.

What is your best memory as a professional player?

Meeting so many great players and fans and other guys around the league, just like the networking. I think traveling and meeting new people is part of the best part.

What is your advice for a 10-year-old pitcher?

Just have fun. Just play as many sports as you can. Play hard and enjoy your teammates.

What was your biggest influence?

My biggest influence is definitely my parents, from an earlier age. They just showed me how to do things the right way on and off the field, and they helped me, they taught me how to work hard.

What was your favorite subject in school, least favorite and why?

My favorite subject in school was history. I just like learning about our country’s past and other countries. My least favorite, probably science.

Did you play any other sports growing up, and if so, do you think it was important as a kid to play multiple sports?

Yeah. I grew up playing basketball up until my junior year in high school. I think it’s super-important to play different sports because it helps your mind do different things and makes your instincts better. I think the more sports, the better.

Did you play other positions in baseball when you were growing up?

Yes, besides pitcher I played infielder, between shortstop and third base.

Who was the toughest batter you faced?

I think the toughest batter would have been this year — there’s a lot of good players out there. I don’t know. I’d probably say Manny Machado. He’s probably the top of the list.

Can you tell of a time when you were faced with a struggle, either with sports or school? How did you handle it?

Injuries are the toughest part in baseball. You’ve got to be mentally strong and look towards the future for it and work hard every day and try to heal whatever that injury might be.

So, it’s the bottom of the ninth, two outs, two strikes and you need one good strike to end the game. What is your go-to pitch?

My go-to pitch is fastball all the way. That’s the one pitch I’ve always worked on. That’s one of the hardest pitches to execute, so probably fastball all the way. Depending on the situation of who’s hitting.

What was your proudest personal day outside of baseball?

Outside of baseball, probably getting married. I think that was probably the highlight outside of baseball.

What do you do in the offseason?

I just train a lot. I see family that I don’t get to see that often, and friends. Just hang out with some family.

If you had not become a professional baseball player, what would you become?

I don’t know. My whole life has been in baseball. So I’m not sure. I don’t know, maybe basketball. But something in sports. Play golf or something.

Melinda Moran’s fourth- and fifth-grade Stretch students, Cherry Avenue Elementary School, West Sayville

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