RICHMOND, Calif. -- If A's right fielder Josh Reddick had never made it to the big leagues, perhaps he would have had a shot at being a scientist.
Reddick's entry in his eighth-grade science fair -- which examined how different types of music affected appetite among mice -- did not win him any prizes, but it certainly indicated some scientific acumen.
While Reddick is enjoying a burgeoning career in Oakland, most kids won't be as lucky as him -- they'll have to utilize what they're learning in school to make an impact in their communities. Luckily for Bay Area schoolchildren, the A's are helping make that happen.
On Tuesday, the Athletics, partnering with Chevron, launched a new educational program called "Science of the Game," with a visit by Reddick and team mascot Stomper to Lincoln Elementary School in Richmond.
"Science of the Game" is designed to increase interest in math and science on the part of youths by applying scientific concepts to the sport of baseball. If the excitement level of the fifth and sixth graders at Lincoln on Tuesday was any indication, the program should become a success.
The cafeteria at Lincoln was in a frenzy all afternoon, as Reddick helped explain scientific concepts relating to baseball, before quizzing the students and giving out autographed A's hats to those who answered questions correctly. Reddick is also appearing at the 2012 Oakland Unified School District K-12 Science Fair on Wednesday evening to continue promoting "Science of the Game."
"You can only be praised so much for your stuff on the field," Reddick said. "For me, growing up, I never had anybody to talk to and reach out to on the Major League level. Nobody came to my elementary or middle school, so for us to have this opportunity to come out and meet these kids and interact with them in a different way, it's going to be huge for them."
As part of the program, the A's will distribute over 15,000 workbooks to local schools (Lincoln being the first to receive them), which contain information and problem sets relating science to baseball. Those children who complete the booklets will receive two tickets to an upcoming A's game.
Additionally, Chevron will help set up a "Science of Baseball" STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Zone at an A's series in July. Children can visit the STEM Zone to learn more about scientific concepts and how they're applied to baseball.
The A's had wanted to implement a math and science program in the community for a while, and the club began working with Chevron to that end last year. Its work culminated with the launch of "Science of the Game" on Tuesday, and the organization was please with how it's been going so far.
"It shows [our kids] that academic achievement is important to the greater community, especially around math and science," said Mimi Melodia, Lincoln Elementary's principal. "We talk it up a lot in school, their parents talk about how important it is for them as a family, and of course the teachers and me, we recognize them, but to have somebody from the outside community recognize them for their achievements and ability makes it really important to them."
So after spending a day teaching kids the importance of math and science and how those concepts relate to his sport, how much will Reddick start analyzing the physics involved when he steps to the plate?
"Zero," Reddick said with a laugh. "The game's hard enough as it is."
Ben Estes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.