TORONTO – Walking around the Rogers Centre in a tidy blue golf shirt tucked into stylish jeans, Carlos Delgado still looks fit enough to play. The 47-year-old Toronto Blue Jays icon laughs off the suggestion, the wonky hip that ended his career prematurely limiting his exercise to cycling, just enough to counterbalance his passion for food.
“These days I’m just playing for the tie,” he quips.
Delgado’s visit to Toronto this week is about far more than that, as he’s leading a group of 21 donors from his native Puerto Rico through a unique baseball trip to raise funds for his charitable foundation, Extra Bases. He’s taken the group on a tour of the Blue Jays clubhouse, introduced them to players and showed off some of the city.
The money raised will be diverted to groups working with children in Puerto Rico.
“We started 18 years ago and like anything, you start small,” says Delgado. “We’re still not a big organization but we have built some credibility, we’ve made some great partnerships with other groups, and especially after Hurricane Dorian, we’ve been able to expand some of the projects we’ve done. Our main focus is to help centres and organizations that work in areas of preventive health and education and sports, and to create awareness that there’s a need out there and the government can’t take care of it all.”
In between his duties, one of, if not the best offensive player every produced by the Blue Jays found some time to talk about Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the similarities between Vladdy, Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio and the rise of Delgado, Shawn Green and Alex Gonzalez, and how he would have fared in today’s high-fastball, low-breaking ball game.
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