WhenMike Scioscia was asked about Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, a smile widened across the face of the Angels' skipper.
There's a sense of pride in that smile. Scioscia is happy to see the Marlins' outfielder doing well in his professional baseball career.
That happiness stems from Yelich, a native of Thousand Oaks, being a former attendee of Scioscia's baseball camp as a youth in the Conejo Valley. Yelich says it was around the age of nine when he first came into contact with the Angels' manager.
"He was a young kid up in Conejo Valley in Thousand Oaks and I remember him coming to our camp," Scioscia said.
Even back then, Scioscia could tell there was something special about the kid.
"You see those certain kids on a baseball field and he was one of them where you go 'Wow!'" Scioscia said. "And it gives you a good feeling when you can see kids that from that age have the talent and ability that have ended up getting a chance to play their dream out and he's a terrific player."
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Although he also played basketball and football growing up, baseball always was Yelich's favorite. By the time he got to Westlake High School, he focused only on baseball.
Yelich was drafted by the Marlins out of Westlake with the 23rd overall pick of the 2010 draft. After playing in 62 games in 2013, the end of this season will mark the first full season in the majors for the 22-year-old.
As Yelich reflects on how he got to this point, he fondly remembers the time he spent at Sciocia's camps.
"Anytime you can go to a camp where a major league manager is a guy who's running it, it's probably going to be a pretty good one," Yelich said. "As a young kid, that's where you, kind of, learn the fundamentals of baseball and what the game's all about. I think he was probably a little instrumental in that."