The Republic’s Richard Obert on what could’ve been a great handicapping baseball lesson for some Arizona kids (link swiped from Baseball Think Factory).

About 25 children showed up Saturday for Paul Lo Duca’s baseball camp in Buckeye. Only there was no Lo Duca.

Ray Alonzo, Lo Duca’s Glendale Apollo High coach from 1988-90, ran the camp and defended the Washington Nationals catcher’s integrity after Lo Duca was linked to steroids and human growth hormone use in the Mitchell Report.

“I kind of beat them to the punch,” Alonzo said. “I told them, ‘We don’t know what went on, but he’s the best guy to be around. He’s done so much for kids.’

Alonzo defended Lo Duca’s work ethic. Lo Duca wasn’t recruited out of high school when he was Player of the Year and led Apollo to the state title in 1990. He walked on at Glendale Community College, before starring at Arizona State.

“He worked his way up,” Alonzo said. “If he made a mistake, he made a mistake.

“John Kruk was great on ESPN. He said they could have named 200 (former and current players). I’m not justifying anything he did. All I know is a lot of people make a lot of mistakes.

“I’ve seen what he does for kids who don’t have money. He’ll come out and spend two days with the kids. He won’t eat with us (coaches). He sits with the kids.”