Imagine walking into an empty Oakland Coliseum with your teammates and you’ve got the place all to yourselves.
That’s pretty much the experience about 75 young ballplayers from West Contra Costa County enjoyed on Tuesday during an annual, science-of-the-game education experience provided by Chevron in partnership with the Oakland A’s.
But at this two-hour long clinic, the young players weren’t quite alone: they were being coached by former baseball greats Shooty Babitt, Vida Blue, Mike Felder and Babitt’s sons Myles and Zachary Babitt, who were both MLB draft selections.
The kids, members of the Richmond Police Activities League and West Contra Costa Little League, also mingled with current A’s pitchers Sean Manaea and Kendall Graveman, who studied mechanical engineering at Mississippi State and supports STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — education initiatives.
While former pros taught baseball fundamentals at various stations, STEM instructors from San Jose State University taught youth science principles behind the game of baseball at an interactive Chevron STEM Zone, which tested principles such as reaction time/ biometrics, anatomy of a baseball, finding the sweet spot on a baseball bat, and an air cannon to learn about aerodynamics and direction of spin.
At one point, Manaea and Graveman joined the learning at the Chevron STEM Zone.
Throughout the season, the A’s and Chevron host several STEM-related programs for Bay Area youth to help deepen their interest and understanding in STEM subjects. The partnership launched during the 2012 season and has included rewarding kids from K-8 for completing “Science of the Game” workbooks, which make learning fun through an illustration of how science impacts baseball.
The youth baseball clinic was introduced in 2014.
Chevron noted during the event that they support STEM at every stage—from early education through employment. The company believes that education is a building block for economic development and employability, and invests in programs that strengthen education to help remove barriers to economic growth in the communities where they operate.
Larry Lewis, executive director of the Richmond Police Activities League, said the event offered youth the learning opportunity of a lifetime.
“Being exposed to STEM-related information is the future and working with the Chevron Richmond Refinery and the Oakland A’s makes it possible for RPAL kids to open their minds and expand their knowledge,” Lewis said.