Landscaped holes sprawl across the grounds of Putt-Putt Fun Center's three locations, challenging visitors to take hold of putters and test their short game. Besides putt-putt golf, the center has batting cages that hurl baseballs and the occasional tomato at various speeds. The attractions at Alley Cats Entertainment Center, include kid-friendly laser tag, rock-climbing, and an arcade, as well as a bar with billiards for the grown-ups. Both locations are home to giant arcades featuring state-of-the-art games and redemption centers to cash in tickets for prizes.
Specials and parties are offered year-round including summer camps, which are offered through Alley Cats and Putt-Putt Fun Center's multiple locations. At camps, kids ages 5 to 13 experience daily themes in a classroom setting from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., from June 9 through August 22. All facilities are fully licensed for daycare and activities include days such as magic day, where children are taught tricks by a professional magician.
With the help of a team of trainers, owner of Cover All Bases, Chris Gay, gives little-leaguers a leg up on the competition. During his clinics, he spends much of the time working on the sport's most essential motion?the swing?in private hitting lessons. But to help build all-around athletes he and his four trainers lead sessions geared toward pitching, fielding, catching, and the closely related art of hitting softballs. A high school athlete himself who went on to pitch for the University of Texas at Arlington and double-A minor league baseball with the Chicago White Sox for 2 1/2 seasons, his love for the game shines through in his training sessions. "(I) love teaching baseball to kids and helping them make their high school teams," he says.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Private hitting lessons and token cards
Pro Tip: It's more comfortable when you bring your own bat
Good for Kids: Yes
Walk-ins Welcome: Yes
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.
A Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros, the Round Rock Express's players bat, slide, steal, and knock spherical things out of Dell Diamond. Managed by former pitcher and major league first base coach Marc Bombard, the team receives its silent hand signals and coaching from former major league pitcher Burt Hooton, minor league veteran Keith Bodie, and star of Major League: Back to the Minors Scott Bakula. The Pacific Coast League power beat the Nashville Sounds to clinch the American Conference finals in 2006. Win or lose, the fun of just watching the game will be celebrated with a round of fireworks.
No athlete ever got worse by practicing the fundamentals. At Elite Players Club, coaches?many who played at the professional and division 1 college level?help baseball and softball players between the ages of 5 and 18 take their skills to the next level by turning proper form and technique into second nature. The training programs include regularly scheduled camps and clinics that cover virtually every aspect of the sport, including throwing, catching, batting, pitching, and doing the wave. Coaches also dive into
the strategic thinking required to help players instinctively make smart plays and put together conditioning workouts to improve players' strength and stamina over time.
As legend has it, an 1875 article in the Dallas Herald claimed that a live panther was spotted walking the streets of Fort Worth. The city soon became known as the "The Panther City," so when Fort Worth's first minor-league baseball team was founded, in 1888, calling it the "Panthers"—rather than, say, the "Fighting Dandelions"—just made sense. Over the years, journalists shortened the club's nickname to the "Cats," and the team dominated the Texas League through the first part of the 20th Century, at one point winning six consecutive league titles in the 1920s.
After bouncing between affiliations with several MLB teams, the Cats disbanded in 1964. However, the Cats returned in 2002, almost immediately reliving the success of the previous century and capturing three straight titles from 2005–07. Despite never adopting the Panther name, the modern-day Cats have never lost sight of their history, as evidenced by mascot "Dodger" and LaGrave Field's classic design.