Fueled for success: Rajai talks food with kids
Speedster joins nutritionist at John Wanless Public School
TORONTO -- What makes Rajai Davis so fast?
That's the question nutritionist Jennifer Sygo posed to the Blue Jays' outfielder and a class of sixth graders at John Wanless Public School on Friday afternoon. Davis and Sygo were joined by Ace, the Blue Jays' mascot, and members of the organization to talk healthy eating.
Sygo discussed the importance of choosing balanced snacks, and Davis revealed to the students what his eating habits are like when he's in pregame mode.
"I usually like to choose a lot of carbs, like the fruits, vegetables; I like to eat a lot of salad before the game, just to help give me some energy," Davis said. "I drink a lot of water. I'll definitely drink an energy drink, like a Powerade or a Gatorade, before the game. I like to drink at least a bottle of fluid an hour before I stretch or an hour before the game just to help me feel better and to help me feel hydrated before the game."
Chris Gaunt's class was excited to learn how Davis became and remains one of the fastest players in the game. One student in particular took special interest.
Chris Dinnick is "fascinated by the speed of Rajai," said his mother, Candy, who, along with a half-dozen other moms, joined the class for the visit. The 12-year-old is a right-handed pitcher for the Leaside Leafs, but he is also a sprinter at John Wanless. During the visit, a photo of the young hurler on the hill for the Leafs was projected onto a big screen at the side of the classroom.
"I was really excited [to hear he was coming], because I'm a huge fan and Rajai Davis is a great player," Dinnick said. "I was just really excited to meet him. ... I like that he's really fast. I like how he steals bases and he's a good outfielder."
Davis offered words of wisdom and inspiration to Dinnick and the other young ballplayers and students during the visit, when they asked him what the most memorable moment of his career has been.
"Other than winning the championship in Little League, it was getting called up to the big leagues," the 31-year-old said. "It was a dream that I always dreamed of when I was your age. I said to my mom, 'I'm going to play in the Major Leagues. I'm not going to let anything stop me. I'm not going to let anybody say that I can't make it.'
"I had a dream and I believed it then, when I was your age, I believed I was going to be in the Major Leagues, and now I'm here, still doing it. So I definitely encourage you guys all, if you have a dream, go for it. Dream big, not small."
Davis was happy to share the knowledge that he now holds about nutrition with the students, especially because it wasn't information that he had readily available to him when he was younger.
"I can't say I had the knowledge when I was growing up," he said. "I think there's a lot more knowledge available now to everyone, especially through the Internet and the nutritionists, these studies that they have now. I think it's a lot more wealth of knowledge now so I'm able to eat a lot more healthy."
Though the native of Connecticut was sure to stress a balanced lifestyle and eating during the visit, he also admitted to the class that some of the snacks he eats aren't always the best for him.
"The first team I ever played for was called Dunkin Donuts," he said. "Have you guys ever heard of Dunkin Donuts? It's big where I'm from. It's huge. I still like Dunkin Donuts. That's one of my favorite bad snacks. Then I played for Carvel Ice Cream."
Alexis Brudnicki is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.