HARRISBURG – His English may be broken, and his sports wisdom questionable, but YouTube baseball celebrity Domingo Ayala entertained a crowd Saturday at The Fieldhouse in Harrisburg to raise money for softball.
Ayala, whose true identity has never been revealed, is an Internet sensation who appeared seemingly out of nowhere a few years ago. His YouTube channel, where he offers baseball "lessons" is a humorous parody of well-known sports clichés.
He has appeared in a variety of different Major League Baseball events like the Home Run Derby.
Saturday night, he stayed true to form, dispensing advice, with gems like "if you want to hit a home run, you have to hit it in the air," and casually mentioning how he hits 85-90 home runs in a season, though he"s still looking for a Major League contract.
"How many of you are in a slump?" he asked the crowd.
He looked around the room.
"Everyone should have their hand raised. Your coaches should have their hands raised, too," he told the youngsters in the front rows. The crowd laughed in response.
Saturday"s show was an idea that Brett Sullivan – one of The Fieldhouse"s three owners – cooked up after seeing Ayala"s videos online.
"Basically, it came from watching the Internet," Sullivan said. "I happened to see some of his YouTube videos, and they"re pretty comical."
He and his business partners, Dean Reid and Barry McDermott, decided to contact Ayala"s agent to see if they could book an appearance.
And though much of his advice is for laughs, the man with the "70s-era mustache and fake Dominican accent is a talented individual, Reid said.
"He used to play pro ball, so he has the skills and fundamentals," he said.
Ticket sales for the show went to benefit Harrisburg softball programs, Sullivan said.
"All of the proceeds benefit Harrisburg softball. It"s not just the high school team, or one specific age group," Sullivan said.
When The Fieldhouse opened on Nov. 1, a dream of having a large baseball and softball training facility was realized, Sullivan said. Now, the business offers individual training and lessons, team rental and camps. Plus, the space also may be rented, he said.
"We"re not in this to make a bunch of money," Sullivan said. "We would like to be able to expand our offerings in the future. But the big thing with us is having a facility like this available to the kids."
For more information, call The Fieldhouse at (618) 841-9327. For information about Ayala, visit www.domingobeisbol.com.