Carolinas Baseball Center is a state-of-the-art baseball-training facility that offers nearly 50,000 square feet of space for visitors looking to enjoy an afternoon of baseballing and other activities. Each birthday package includes one hour of free-swinging action, thanks to two batting cages equipped with Iron Mike pitching machines, and 90 minutes of party-room use, ensuring there’s plenty of time to munch on cake. Every party also includes two slices of pizza and one drink for each child, with paper plates, cups, napkins, spoons, and tablecloths provided. The birthday boy or girl will receive a Carolinas Baseball Center T-shirt, as well as an opportunity to yell, “Baseball is nothing like masonry!” repeatedly. Additionally, an instructor boasting impressive baseball-mechanics knowledge can be hired for an additional charge.
It takes extreme levels of athletic refinement to make it to the pros in any sport. But whereas some football players can find success by focusing their energies entirely on blocking, and basketball players on sneaking under benches to tie opponents' shoes together, most baseball players must master at least two discrete skill sets to make it to the top. These facets of the game—hitting and fielding—are each incredibly difficult in their own right.
JD Closser knows something about hitting and fielding, as eight different big-league organizations can attest. Drafted by Arizona in 1998, he would go on to play three seasons in the majors with Colorado as well as playing in the Milwaukee and Los Angeles systems, among others, over a 15-year career. Though a catcher in his heyday, JD teaches all positions at Going Pro Baseball Academy. A range of programs can teach pitchers to develop command, third baseman to develop an accurate throw to first, and right fielders to develop the attention span to watch a chewed up sunflower seed reach flower-bearing maturity. Going Pro houses the latest training equipment, such as two full-length retractable cages, three pitching mounds, and full Astro Turf floor.
The Proehlific Park Family Sports Complex and Fitness Center is a sprawling facility, whose space opens up for youth and adult programs, fitness activities, and sports. Three basketball courts and a 70-yard turf field welcome soccer and flag-football leagues. Meanwhile, the fitness center holds a weight room, spinning studio, cardio center, along with group exercise classes such as yoga, Zumba, and Pilates. While not relaxing in comfortable locker rooms complete with saunas, customers will also find free wireless and a smoothie bar in the lobby.
For more than a decade, The Hitting Zone has helped baseball and softball players hone their slugging skills with top-notch batting cages. Its newly renovated facility includes seven new batting cages, new token machines, professional-quality turf, and enhanced lighting. While three cages devour tokens and spit out speedy pitches, schedule-savvy batters claim one of four regular cages for a designated hour of ball-pummeling against a Cy Young android lookalike.
Founded in 1902, when everyone walked uphill both ways, the Bulls have evolved into one of the country's best-known minor-league teams. Boasting a rich history and talented prospects making their way to the majors, the Bulls play in the 15-year-old Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Featuring a 10,000-seat capacity, comfy extra-wide seating, a new video board, and a sublime view of the bull perched atop the 32-foot Blue Monster in left field, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is a superb place to witness the 2009 AAA National Champions run, hit, and skillfully communicate with a flurry of dexterous semaphore. Stocked with young talent, the Bulls will showcase several players in 2010 that are sure to soon end up on a major-league roster. Inspired by 23-year-old Desmond Jennings—who posted a .325 batting average and .419 on-base percentage last year—and 22-year-old, hard-throwing Jeremy Hellickson—who fanned 70 batters and walked only 15 in 57.1 innings—the Bulls are primed for another title run through an action-packed schedule this year.
Kenrick Smith and his team of golf instructors are driven by one central goal in their eight-week lesson package: turn beginners into lifetime golfers. Kenrick?s academy, The Triangle Golf School, provides a curriculum that focuses on building a fundamentally sound swing and a teaching environment that is fun, constructive, and does not force students to forage for their own bounty of wild golf balls. Though primarily geared toward junior golfers, the school offers lessons and clinics to clubbers of all ages and abilities. The Triangle School?s indoor facility fosters year-round practice, allowing players to hone their swings without fearing rain or dust storms created by rebellious sand traps.