One hundred Little Leaguers received an all-star experience on Sunday when they spent the day with former Major League Baseball All-Star Brian Jordan.
Jordan, who said he visits inner-city children to give them hope, saw the day as an opportunity to let the Little Leaguers see how good they could be and needed to be to get to the Little League World Series.
"Work hard," he said.
The Little Leaguers came from four teams from Union City, Scranton, Norristown and Lancaster to receive a tour of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, participate in the Baseball Factory hitting challenge and watch the West vs. Southeast game. The day was a partnership between Little League Baseball and Dick's Sporting Goods.
A player from each league threw out the first pitch for the game alongside Jordan. From Scranton's Central City Little League, Kristian Lynn received the honor.
Lynn said it went great, but he felt very nervous "being on the field with all of the people watching."
Normally a catcher, Lynn spent two days practicing to prepare for throwing the opening pitch. With a violent shake of his head, he made it clear that he did not want to switch positions anytime soon.
Before Lynn threw the pitch, he said Jordan gave him advice: "Don't be nervous. Go out there. Have fun. Throw the ball."
Seeing the smiles on the children's faces is what "it's all about to me," Jordan said.
Before the Uganda vs. Mexico game on Saturday, Jordan met with the Ugandan team to encourage them.
Yet that inspired Jordan to want to travel to Uganda and help them train so they could come back in the future and be more successful.
His ultimate goal would be to start a center for excellence which could serve as both an athletic center and a place for tutoring, with a dorm where they could stay during the week to "get them to believe in themselves."
"We have to find a way to give these kids hope," he said.
For Jordan, meeting with the Pennsylvania and Uganda teams provided him an opportunity to encourage children to dream big and not give up, even when trouble strikes.
It was each of those messages that inspired two of the children's books he wrote, including "I Told You I Could Play" and "Overcoming the Fear of the Baseball." He signed a copy of the latter book for each of the Little Leaguers.
"I write children's books to motivate them to believe in themselves," Jordan said.
The inspiration for Overcoming came from a time when a baseball hit him so hard in the face that he almost broke his jaw.
"I was afraid to get back in," Jordan said. "Thank God I got back."
The book is about more than just baseball, but overcoming any fear.
His latest book, "Time Out for Bullies", speaks about the importance of standing up to bullies just by becoming a friend to those who are bullied.
As an athlete or even a student who is looked up to in elementary school, helping the bullied could save a life, with so many kids committing suicide because of bullying, he said.
"Once you see bullying, step in," Jordan said. "Not in a violent way."