When the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees meet in London Stadium on June 29 and 30, it will mark the first time Major League Baseball teams have played regular season games in Europe. It will not, however, be the first time this month that a successful American baseball coach has traversed the Atlantic Ocean.
The Master’s University head coach Monte Brooks recently served as an instructor at a pair of baseball clinics in London, an experience that left Brooks in awe of the attendees’ hunger for the sport.
“It was awesome to see the excitement and enthusiasm to learn fundamentals of the game,” Brooks said. “They were stoked. I enjoyed meeting them and seeing the passion for the game, knowing that in England soccer and cricket is what they’re known for, but these guys love the game.”
Brooks made the journey at the request of Matt Davis, an alumnus of Master’s baseball who operates sports camps in England. Upon arrival, Brooks directed two clinics with local baseball clubs, the players ranging from teenagers to adults. He focused his teaching mainly on batting and fielding, his areas of expertise after a minor league career with the San Diego Padres organization.
When he wasn’t at the ballpark in London, Brooks spent time painting a local church with members of his family as part of a refurbishing project.
“(My wife) Carole Anne and (daughter) Taylor painted a mural in the grade school room,” Brooks said. “They painted these snowcapped, foggy mountains with trees and dressed it up.”
The trip came at an important time for Master’s baseball, a fact that wasn’t lost on one of the groups Brooks worked with.
“Brooks will be forgiven if, from time to time, he checks on the MLB Draft, which starts this week,” Herts Baseball Club wrote on its website, “as three players from his Master’s University team will be hoping to hear their names.”
Two of Brooks’ players were selected in the MLB Draft on June 5, while another signed as an undrafted free agent.
TMU’s Aaron Shackelford, the NAIA Player of the Year who hit 36 home runs as a senior, is expected to report to Bristol, Virginia, to play with a Pirates rookie-level affiliate.
Pittsburgh picked Shackelford in the 14th round of the draft, while the Mariners snagged TMU’s Anthony Lepre, a Valencia graduate, in the 28th round. Master’s has had a player selected in 10 of the last 11 drafts.
Lepre will begin his career in Peoria, Arizona, with Seattle’s rookie-level club, as will Saugus grad Robert Winslow, who signed with the Mariners as an undrafted free agent earlier this month.
Winslow is glad for the opportunity to continue working with Lepre.
“It’s been nice having a roommate I know and getting to know my catcher more than I did during the season, which is cool,” Winslow said.
Youth Summer Camp Registration Open
The Master’s University Athletic Department is offering sessions of baseball, basketball, soccer and volleyball training at our state-of-the-art facilities in Newhall this summer. Our coaches and student-athletes are excited to teach and encourage your child in the sport they love.
To register, visit GoMustangs.com/SummerCamps