The Riversharks, a member of the Liberty Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, are all set to hit, pitch, and run around the bases while waving their arms and yelling about the big leagues. Watch them face off against the Long Island Ducks, a team that challenges the Mets' and Yankees' monopoly on New York diamond play. Field-level seating, which wraps the infield closely from dugout to dugout, offers panoramic, foul-pole to foul-pole views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the amber Philadelphia skyline, making home runs feel like dreams and snacks taste like summer.
The cracks of baseball bats, the slaps of softballs meeting mitts, and the advice of an experienced team of instructors resound within Thunder Stix Baseball & Softball Academy's cavernous 11,000-square-foot facility. Baseball and softball players alike hone their cuts inside eight pitching machines that can be adjusted from 40 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour, and brush up on their fielding technique inside four netted astroturf tunnels. Robert Banner—the academy's owner and the head softball coach at Alexis I. DuPont High School—and his instructors use the well-appointed digs to help players of all abilities develop their skills in every facet of the game, including batting, fielding, base running, and agility.
• For $32, you get two Thunder hats, concessions, and two tickets to the game against the Erie SeaWolves on Monday, July 18, at 7:05 p.m. (up to a $78 total value). • For $32, you get two Thunder hats, concessions, and two tickets to the game against the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Thursday, July 28, at 7:05 p.m. (up to a $78 total value).
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.
Philadelphia Sport and Social Club places athletically minded individuals into leagues, offering six levels of play, from recreational to fiercely competitive. Sports range from men's indoor basketball to outdoor favorites such as coed soccer and coed hockey, played with bladeless skates on the dry, frictional equivalent of ice—a floor. Meeting at several facilities throughout Philadelphia, most sports' seasons consist of 6–10 games and one round of single-elimination playoffs, culminating in prizes for the victors, such as long-sleeve T-shirts and, for kickball champions, a pageant of apologies from former playground bullies.