Bahamian professional baseball player Anfernee Seymour and American Natasha Watley are set to host the first ever Anfernee Seymour/Natasha Watley Baseball and Softball Clinic this Saturday and Sunday, at the Freedom Farm Baseball Fields in Yamacraw. Watley, the first African-American female to play on the United States’ softball team in the Olympics, will be in town for the mini clinic. She has Bahamian roots.
Seymour made the announcement at the Baha Mar Convention Center yesterday, stating that the camp is for both boys and girls from ages nine to 14. The Saturday session will start at 10 a.m and the Sunday session will start at 12 noon.
Seymour, who was drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2014, is coming off a respectable season in the minor leagues after being promoted to Double-A baseball, playing for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League.
Seymour, a right fielder, said that growing up he always looked up to older Bahamian players like Greg Burrows Jr., Geron Sands and Albert Cartwright. He said one of the reasons for the clinic is to give back to the sport by impacting the youth of the country through baseball and being a role model for them.
The former Freedom Farm product said he is grateful to Greg Burrows Sr. who helped him get to where he is today.
Watley, who has a Bahamian connection through her mother, is a former professional softball player who retired in 2017. She played at the collegiate level for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins and represented the United States as high as the Olympic level. She won Olympic gold with the US in Athens, Greece, in 2004, and silver with the US in Beijing, China, in 2008. Watley was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) World Championships in Saskatoon, Canada, in 2002.
Seymour said the clinic will work on the fundamentals of both baseball and softball.
“We want to work on basic fundamentals – teaching the games and the right way, to field a ground ball and take fly balls the right way. We also want to work on throwing mechanics and working on their all-around games,” Seymour said.
He also pointed out that being an unselfish player is important since both sports are team sports and team camaraderie is important.
In addition to the clinic, Seymour said he will also be launching a non-profit organization called the Anfernee Seymour Foundation.
“The foundation will not only help baseball children but at-risk ones in the inner city. It will be assisting both males and females. It will help those who are less fortunate and who don’t have the parental guidance to help them. Scholarships will be provided to help children get exposure to baseball,” he said.
Playing a huge role in the getting this weekend and the foundation underway is Baha Mar, which has come on board as a sponsor.
The elder Burrows, who is the president of the Freedom Farm Baseball League, said that this is the way he envisioned Freedom Farm to work when he started it almost 30 years ago.
“I always tell these guys that it is not after you have arrived that you call yourself a professional. What is most important and what is happening here today is that they are reaching, looking and coming back to assist the ones who they left behind. This program and men like Seymour cannot exist to bring any kind of recognition to this country if they don’t come back and reach out and lift up the hands of the ones who are still in this system,” Burrows said.
Senior Vice President of Operations at Baha Mar John Zaremba said: “We are very supportive of all the work he (Seymour) has done and also Freedom Farm. It is a pleasure and a honor to be represented with you and to be given an opportunity to support the foundation. Young athletes are certainly the future.”
Adding to what Zaremba said, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Community Outreach at Baha Mar Robert ‘Sandy’ Sands said: “We see this as a community effort, being able to help Seymour with his initiative and foundation in giving back to the community. It is an excellent partnering arrangement for Baha Mar since a sense of community is one of the pillars of our foundation.”
Also coming on board as sponsors of the weekend clinic are Thompson Trading Co. Ltd. and Purity Bakery Ltd.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism