NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Queens kids got back on a ballfield Saturday thanks to an event sponsored by Major League Baseball and a local church.

With his every turn at bat, sixth grader Omar Fulmore Jr. got some words of encouragement from his grandmother.

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“I love it because he puts all his all into everything that he does,” she said.

“This summer, I feel like, I feel like it’s gonna be way different from last summer, way better,” Omar told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

He was at “Play Ball” in Jamaica. Major League Baseball, the New York Mets and Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral treated dozens of Queens kids to a home run derby and batting practice.

“So as soon as I heard the Mets, and I’m from Queens, I had to bring my son and show him that we have the orange and blue in our DNA and this is great,” father Omar Fulmore Sr. said.

He’s proud of a new addition to the back of his Mets jersey — a freshly inked autograph from Dwight “Doc” Gooden.

The former Mets pitching ace led the team to its second World Series championship in 1986.

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Gooden, who has weathered some big health and legal troubles over the years, says he wants to help kids develop purpose and success.

“I’m still here for a reason,” Gooden said. “And giving back to these kids and letting them know, I start off like talking baseball to get their attention and then you switch it to life issues … Just being the best you can and being true to your inner self.”

“I get to do something that I love instead of being in the house all day,” 10-year-old Corey Johnson said.

Corey is thriving now, says his dad, Roland Johnson, who says quiet, steady support from the sidelines is always best.

“My dad was that guy, like the loudest parent. You could hear him over everybody … so I don’t wanna do that to them, so I just let them have fun,” Johnson said.

Major League Baseball will have other events like this one in New York City, including bringing back a stick ball game near Yankee Stadium in September.

“It’s so important to be able to help facilitate kids to come outside run around have fun in a safe way, obviously, still,” said Bennett Shields, MLB senior manager of baseball and softball development.

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He says you are looking at the fostering of future Mets — maybe a player but definitely fans.

Dave Carlin