LYNNWOOD — Steven Souza Jr. and the rest of the Major League Baseball players from the region are looking to bring some holiday cheer to the area’s youth baseball and softball players.
Souza, Blake Snell and Michael Conforto are among the players who will be present at Base By Pros’ Holiday FanFest, which takes place Friday evening at the Base By Pros facility in Lynnwood. The event is from 6-8 p.m.
Souza, a Cascade High School graduate who’s currently an outfielder with the Arizona Diamondbacks; Snell, a Shorewood High School graduate who’s a pitcher with the Tampa Bay Rays and the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner; and Conforto, a Redmond High School graduate who’s an outfielder with the New York Mets, will be on hand for a question and answer session and to sign autographs. Also attending will be former major-league outfielders Travis Snider, a Jackson High School grad, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who spent 2018 with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.
“I’ve been looking to do something like this for a while, but it was never the right setting or the players weren’t all available at the same time,” Souza said. “Then it kind of came together this offseason. I threw it out to Brent (Lillibridge, a Jackson High School grad and former major leaguer himself who runs Base By Pros), and he ran with it and laid down the groundwork.
“I’m a big proponent of getting in front of kids and youth and letting them know that I was at the same place they’re at, so dreams are capable of being reached.”
Among the activities available for kids are batting cages that simulate how far the ball would travel in a major-league stadium, and a pitching simulator that measures velocity and spin rate.
The major leaguers will be in uniform and interacting with the attendees. Santa will also make an appearance.
The cost of entry is $25, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Consider the Lily, a charitable organization dedicated to ending human trafficking in the Philippines. However, Sousa emphasized that no child will be denied entry because of inability to pay the entry fee.