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.
The crack of a bat signals another powerful hit inside Extra Innings' spacious, 70-foot-long batting tunnels. Each cage's Iron Mike pitching machine emulates the power and speed of a cantaloupe tossed by Popeye, sending a feast of fastballs screeching toward homerun-hungry hitters. Extra Innings' 12,000-square-foot facility also divvies its plethora of space for private pitching, fielding, and batting lessons hosted by seasoned instructors, as well as a circuit training area furnished with soft-toss machines, tees, and stride boards that further perfect techniques. The onsite pro shop also equips players with all of the baseball essentials.:m]]
Though it celebrates athleticism of all stripes, Sports of All Sorts Batting Cages specializes in training amateurs in America's pastime. Along with batting cages equipped for baseball and slow- or fast-pitch softball, the facility improves each player's game with a hitting and pitching tunnel and pitching mounds with L-screens. Seasoned players and area college coaches demonstrate batting skills at off-season baseball camps, which can be customized for groups of six or more.
The facility's multipurpose court hosts a range of activities such as basketball scrimmages, cheerleading practice, and royal curling tournaments while the king's ice rink gets remodeled. After practice, the arcade hosts rounds of air hockey, billiards, or video games, and Sports of All Sorts' bounce house and three-tiered indoor soft playground hosts the hopping of younger visitors.
The 1970s were a transformative time for the Cincinnati Reds. Over that decade, the Reds cast off the lingering shadows of controversy—the team's first NL Pennant and World Series title were overshadowed by the notorious "Black Sox" scandal—to become a dominant force in Major League Baseball. The Reds appeared in four Fall Classics during that stretch and won back-to-back titles in 1975 and 1976—the latter of which forever etched "The Big Red Machine" into baseball lore. Today, the Reds continue to build on their rich history at Great American Ball Park. There, fans can gaze the outfield walls and soak in views of the Ohio River and the hills of Northern Kentucky where Mr. Redlegs buys all of his mustache wax.
The friendly staff at Putt N Play Family Fun Center welcomes exhilaration enthusiasts of all ages to its cheerful expanse of games and attractions. Groups revel in the spirit of competition while bouncing golf balls off the brick boundaries and shrunken boulders of the 18-hole miniature-golf course. Afterward, the batting cage offers a place to practice chopping at a moving target, whereas air hockey provides players with the chance to practice distracting facial-distortion techniques. Once the day's excitement has left the group tired and hungry, a concession stand refuels parties with pizza, hot dogs, and soda.
An International League mainstay, the Columbus Clippers have prepped future stars for the big leagues since 1977. The team has claimed nine league championships over the years, most recently in 2011. The Clippers have served as the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians since 2009, helping players hone the skills that they need to succeed in the majors and impress friends during the piñata portion of birthday parties.
Up to 10,100 Clippers fans pack into Huntington Park, which still gleams with a new-stadium sparkle after sprouting up in 2009. During that inaugural season, the facility was named Ballpark of the Year by multiple sources, including BaseballParks.com and Digitalballparks.com, whose writers referred to the stadium's design as "the most exciting we've seen in two decades."