The stitching that unites the iconic "N" and "Y" on each Yankees cap also threads together a legacy that stretches back more than a century. Cemented by 27 World Series titles, 40 American League pennants, and a total of 43 alumni in the Baseball Hall of Fame, that legacy has been built on winning, resulting in, among other legends, a batting lineup forever nicknamed "Murderer's Row" and a regular Joe transformed into a joltin' hero.
From 1923 to 2008, the team called the original Yankee Stadium—the "House That Ruth Built"—home, making it a daunting task indeed to move 85 years of tradition into a new park without erasing the tracks of history or disturbing the scoreboard's mysterious hieroglyphics. Yet today, the Bronx breezes waft the scent of polyester pinstripes up to the 50,287 blue seats peppering a new facility—christened, appropriately enough, with a world championship in 2009. Even with its up-to-date amenities, including a mammoth 101-foot-wide LED screen towering above center field, the current Yankee Stadium stands as a reminder of the past—especially in Monument Park, where fans can soak up the club's storied saga up until 45 minutes prior to each game.
Total Baseball Sports Academy curates a collective of experienced baseball and fast-pitch-softball coaches, along with manicured practice spaces. Teachers who were once involved with such organizations as the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals lend their knowledge to young players during summer camps, private lessons, and correspondence courses taught entirely through catcher hand signals. Teams can kick up the freshly raked dirt on rented practice fields or rattle the wire frame on batting cages.
Missing Links Driving Range beckons to serious athletes and fun-seeking families alike with three batting cages, a 37-hitting-stall driving range, an 18-hole miniature-golf course, and a golf school helmed by two PGA-certified pros. Pin-hunters can assume their stance in virtually any conditions at the driving range, as 20 of the hitting stalls are covered and the entire complex is lighted to cater to late-night practitioners or 9 irons with a knack for astronomy. Putt-putt posses can tap like trumpet players at dawn through a mini-golf course that features a lagoon, lighthouse, waterfalls, and other tropical-themed obstacles, or hone their game more meticulously with lessons from the expert instructors at Smith 'n Barber Golf School. Line drives, grounders, and fly balls carom off of whirring bats or oversize hot dogs inside Missing Links' three batting cages, where automated pitchers serve up both fast-flung baseballs and high-arching, slow-pitch softballs. After a long day of swatting spheres, guests can cool off with 24 flavors of soft serve and other subzero savories served at the onsite ice-cream parlor.
Potential major-league stars launch heaven-bound baseballs toward the outfield and paint home plate with pitches all summer long for the Bradenton Marauders, the Class-A-Advanced affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team hopes to sail past competition, buoyed by the skills of fastball-slinger Kyle McPherson and slugger Jarek Cunningham, who through June 5 has 11 home runs, one for each of Abraham Lincoln's toes. Hungry fans can barter Buc's Bucks for ballpark eats between innings and treat stomachs to a classic grandstand dinner of hot dogs and fries.
Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award?winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
Core Speed and Agility Training’s instructors have found a simple formula for athletic success: become faster and stronger than your competition. Owner Andre Williams rarely pauses to appreciate the simplicity of this formula. In fact, he seems always to be on the move. Williams designed his innovative speed-training program to enhance foot speed and cut down on race times through a series of progressive exercises. Though runners find this program effective as a means to an end, other athletes use it to complement specialized programs that isolate the muscles used in baseball, football, basketball, and other team sports.
Speaking of team sports, Core Speed and Agility Training also offers group classes that enhance speed and movement skills in a supportive, yet competitive setting. Students sweat through 60-minute workouts that combine cardio, strength, and flexibility exercises or focus on the movements associated with a particular sport. Baseball players can find further specialization in instructor John Madden’s pitching classes, which take advantage of the facility’s four indoor batting cages and legion of animatronic batboys.