Author Archives: Ronan

Ryan, Brandon Crawford and Ronan (Jan. 2018)


BCraw35 Baseball Camp

BCraw35 Baseball Camp

For Christmas, one of the presents our mom and dad got Ryan and me was two days at “Brandon Crawford Baseball Camp!” We could not believe it! Brandon Crawford is a major league baseball player who plays short stop for the San Francisco Giants. The camp started on January 27th, so Ryan and I had a month to practice our game. Before we knew it, we were flying from St. Lucia, (the West Indies) in the Caribbean, to Phoenix, Arizona, for the baseball camp. The camp was held in Scottsdale, Arizona because that is where the Giants do their spring training. We had an overnight layover in Miami, so it took us two (2) days to get to Arizona from the Caribbean.Ryan & Ronan outside Scottsdale Stadium (Jan. 2018)Ryan & Ronan outside Scottsdale Stadium (Jan. 2018)


On the first day of baseball camp, we woke up early, had breakfast, and drove to Scottsdale. When we got to Scottsdale stadium, we signed in and went to the field, while the parents and family went to the observation deck (Mom, Dad, and Aunt Patti).

Pre-camp gathering

Pre-camp gathering

When we gathered on the field at the start of the day, we were very excited to see San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, as well as San Francisco Giants Coach Chad Chopp! Coach Chopp is the Giants left-handed batting practice pitcher and a video replay analyst. There were also many other coaches and assistants.San Fracisco Giants' shortstop Brandon Crawford and Coach Chad Chopp (Jan. 2018)San Francisco Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford and Coach Chad Chopp  (Jan. 2018)

The first thing we did was play two ball. Two ball is a game where you throw two baseballs to someone from one hand, and if they do not catch both of them, they get a point. You have to try to get as little points as possible. Next, we did warm ups. First, we ran from one side of the field to the other, and then they organized us in lines to throw and catch to one another.

Line throw catch warm up

Line throw catch warm up

Then, one by one all the kids ran forward doing lunge stretches with their legs. Next, all the kids in the camp made one enormous circle. The coaches had us hold a different position with our arms for ten seconds at a time. Warm up circleWarm up circle

The coaches then organized us into small groups by age. There were many different stations that practiced different exercises with different coaches. It was amazingly well run! They had a set time of when to rotate to a different station. There was an outfield station, a Wiffle Ball station, a base running station, an off a tee batting station, an underhand pitching batting station, an overhand pitching batting station, a pitching station, an in-fielding station, and a bunting station.

Out Fielding station

Out Fielding station

In the out-fielding station, they taught us how to catch balls properly. We also learned about “drop steps.” A drop step is when you take a step back to your right or your left depending on where the ball is coming from. This allows you to easily run backwards or forward for the ball.

Ronan at bat at the Wiffle ball station

Ronan at bat at the Wiffle ball station

At the Wiffle Ball station, we practiced hitting Wiffle Balls with a small bat, and then hitting them with the bat we brought.Ronan getting batting tips from Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)Ronan getting batting tips from Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

In the batting cages, everyone hit baseballs off of tees for practice. After batting off of tees, we hit balls that were thrown underhand by a coach. Next, we hit balls that were thrown overhand by a coach.

At the base running station, the coaches taught that you should tag the inside corner of first base  when you are going to keep running for second and same with all the other bases.

While at the pitching station, the coaches taught us how to deliver the ball properly. At the bunting station, we were taught how to hold the bat while attempting to bunt. While at the in-fielding station, we practiced fielding ground balls at short stop and throwing them to the first baseman.

Infield station - Ryan and Brandon Crawford at short stop & Ronan at 3rd base

Infield station – Ryan and Brandon Crawford at short stop & Ronan at 3rd base

At the end of the first day of camp, they handed out prizes to the kids who did especially well.

End of Day 1 gathering

End of Day 1 gathering

The coaches also talked about the importance of appreciation of team, family and teachers. Our “homework” assignment was to do a “random act of kindness.”

Aunt Patti, Ronan, Randy & Ryan (Jan. 2018)

Aunt Patti, Ronan, Randy & Ryan (Jan. 2018)

After camp, when we got back to the hotel, Ryan, Mom, and I decided to hike Mt. Tempe which was right outside our hotel.

Mount Tempe, AZ (elevation 1495')

Mount Tempe, AZ (elevation 1495′)

Along the trail, we saw lots of cactuses and other hikers. When we got to the top, we stopped and enjoyed the magnificent view.

Going up and down Mt. Tempe only took about an hour. Next, we went to the hot tub on the roof of the hotel. We had an amazing day!


On the second day of camp, we woke up bright and early to get ready. Just like the day before, we drove to Scottsdale stadium in Scottsdale with our mom, dad and Aunt Patti. We started the day off with more of the game, two ball. Then we did warm ups and went to our assigned stations. However, on the second day they did the stations a little differently than before. The coaches handed out prizes, such as bubble gum and sunflower seeds, to kids that did well. While in the batting cages, I was very excited when I got a tip from Brandon Crawford himself! He told both Ryan and me that we should swivel our back leg while batting for more power. If I had to choose, I think I learned the most at the pitching station on the second day. One of the coaches showed me that I should make a “W” shape with my arms while delivering the pitch. This helped improve my pitching accuracy tremendously! At the end of the day, the coaches handed out prizes again.

End of Day 2 pep talk and Q&A session

End of Day 2 pep talk and Q&A session

I was very happy when I got picked for a prize by the pitching coach. My prize was a Gaylord Perry mini-statue. Gaylord Perry was one of the pitchers on the Giants who has been elected to the baseball Hall of Fame. After I got my prize, Brandon Crawford walked over to Ryan and I and asked us our names.

End of Day 2 pep talk, Q&A and prizes

End of Day 2 pep talk, Q&A and prizes

Then he chose my brother Ryan to get a prize too! Ryan got a Bruce Bochy gnome. Bruce Bochy is the Giants manager. The gnome looks hilarious! After giving out prizes, everyone formed a line to get an item of their choice signed by Brandon Crawford, along with a picture with him. Ryan and I had baseballs signed, and took pictures with him!

Ronan shaking hands with Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ronan shaking hands with Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ronan with his signed ball from Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ronan with his signed ball from Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)Ryan with his baseball signed by Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ryan with his baseball signed by Brandon Crawford (Jan. 2018)

Ryan, Brandon Crawford and Ronan (Jan. 2018)

Ryan, Brandon Crawford and Ronan (Jan. 2018)

Following the autographs and pictures, we returned to the hotel. The whole camp was an experience of a lifetime! My brother and I now have signed balls from three (3) SF Giant players, Willie Mays, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford! (See Willie Mays, one of a kind (2015/11/17) and A Giant Among Giants, Christmas Arrives Early in Grenada (2015/12/20).

To top it off, all of the proceeds from the camp were donated to the Buster and Kristen Posey Fund. Buster Posey is a teammate of Brandon Crawford’s and is the catcher for the San Francisco Giants. The Buster and Kristen Posey Fund is a charity that provides grants to research hospitals and organizations that support children diagnosed with pediatric cancer. To check out, or donate to the Buster and Kristen Posey Fund, click here. For information on future Brandon Crawford Baseball camps, click here.

Junior Captain in Training – by Ronan

Last week after a nice long hike behind the Rain Forest Café, in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, I was thrilled to learn that I was going to have the opportunity to captain and command our Sea Ray 480 motor yacht from Capella Marina, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, to Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, St Lucia (with appropriate supervision of course)!

Ryan, Theresa and Ronan, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Ryan, Theresa and Ronan, Marigot Bay, St. Lucia (spot Pilots’ Discretion)

While driving a boat, you do not just put it on autopilot and hope that you arrive at your destination before sunset. You have to be on high alert, at all times, for what is around you, including being on the lookout for other vessels, fishing pots, and shoals. You have to always be paying attention to your electronics and navigational instruments.

On the trip to Rodney Bay, according to our Automated Identification System (AIS) and the radar, I was on a potential collision course with a sailing vessel. Using Randy’s wise advice which was “don’t hit anything,” I switched from autopilot to standby which allowed me to control the vessel manually. After using two of the most important gadgets on board, which are the wheel and the throttles, I managed to get a safe distance away from the sailing vessel.

Pilots' Discretion Track from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Pilots’ Discretion Track from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

Only a couple of nautical miles from Rodney Bay, with the help of my lookouts, who were my Mom and my brother Ryan, we located and avoided some fishing pots. When we got to Rodney Bay we hovered just before the channel entrance to the marina so that the crew could get the lines and fenders ready for docking. Finally, we safely docked at Rodney Bay Marina.

Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia

IGY Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia

With a lot of practice, time, and dedication, learning how to drive a boat is not as hard as you may think. In my opinion, captaining the boat from Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay in St. Lucia was one of the coolest experiences ever.

A Giant Among Giants, Christmas Arrives Early in Grenada! – by Ronan

My brother and I are both huge San Francisco Giants fans. Earlier this summer, our boat neighbor in Grenada, Mrs. Izzy, on Motor Vessel Izzy R, saw us wearing our San Francisco Giants hats and shirts. She told us that her brother’s wife was related to Buster Posey, the Giants MVP catcher. 

Later in the summer, Mrs. Izzy mentioned that her brother and his wife were coming to visit. Ryan and I did some detective work and asked her how many brothers she had. When she said, “only one,” then we knew Buster Posey’s relative was coming to visit!

When Mrs. Izzy’s brother and his wife arrived, we put on our San Francisco Giants hats and Buster Posey shirts. We wore a path in the dock walking past the boat and around the marina looking for them. After a couple of days, we finally met Mrs. Cathy (Buster Posey’s relative) and her husband, Dick. When they saw our Buster Posey shirts Mrs. Cathy took our picture along Posey shirts in Grenadawith her husband. She said they were going to have Thanksgiving dinner with Buster and would show him the picture. We had a homeschool assignment that day to write a friendly letter, so we wrote letters to Buster Posey telling him we are big fans. We asked Mrs. Cathy if she would deliver our letters to Buster Posey and she said, “Yes!” We were very excited!

Shortly after Thanksgiving, we received an email from Mrs. Cathy asking for our address. She said Buster Posey wanted to send us some things! About a week later, we received a package. We were surprised to find two signed balls and our letters with notes from Buster Posey on them.

Autographed balls

Autographed balls

He also signed the pictures that Mrs. Cathy had taken of us and Dick.

Another really cool thing in the package was a picture of him holding our pictures! In my opinion, Buster is very kind to have spent his time sending us these special items. I will always be a huge fan of Buster Posey and the Giants. As a Giants fan, this is the coolest early Christmas present ever!

Belmont Estate 17th Century Historic Working Plantation, Grenada – by Ronan

Two weeks ago our boat neighbors on “M/V Seamantha” invited us to go to the Belmont Estate. The Belmont Estate is a 17th century historic working plantation. We took a taxi to Belmont Estate. When we got there our tour guide showed us a table full of local fruits. He told us which ones you could eat and which ones were poisonous.

Ronan with Cocoa Pod

Ronan with Cocoa Pod

After he was done talking about the fruits, we went out into the cocoa fields. My brother Ryan got to pick a cocoa pod right off the tree and I got to smash it on a rock to open it. The tour guide told us we could suck on a cocoa bean but we couldn’t swallow it. Our guide also told us it taste like Skittles or Starburst. I don’t like Skittles or Starburst but I tried it anyway. I didn’t like it at all.

After the fields we went to the place where they used to dry the cocoa beans in the sun. Now they dry the beans inside shelter because then they dry better and don’t get wet in the rain. We got to try nibs which are small bits of dried cocoa beans that have no sugar added, just 100 percent cocoa. It might sound good but in my opinion it was bad and bitter.

Next we went back to where we started the tour and got to sample chocolate that was 60 and 70 percent cocoa! That was a lot better than the nibs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the chocolate tasting we went to the Belmont Estate restaurant for lunch. The food was great! After lunch we followed our guide and he showed us a talking parrot that sang happy birthday and asked for crackers.

Then we went to the dairy farm and fed goats leaves. We also discovered that goats have horizontal pupils.

Ryan and I got to feed monkeys bananas after we fed the goats. The monkeys weren’t hungry and only took one banana.

The monkeys made weird noises at Patton and they were not very fond of him Next we checked out a couple gift shops. We had a very great time at the Belmont Estate, I hope we can come back soon.



This past weekend my brother and I had a life raft drill in our pool.  We did it to help us prepare in case we ever had a real emergency on board our boat. We both have done it before, but more practice is better. During the life raft drill, my brother Ryan pulled the cord to inflate the life raft. After the life raft inflated I jumped in and then Ryan jumped in the pool and climbed in. In the raft there were emergency supplies like food, water, fishing hooks and flares.  Flares help attract nearby planes or boats in an emergency. I think the life raft drill helped prepare me and my brother for our boat trip because it is important to be  prepared in case of an emergency. (Click on you tube video link below!)