Line drives sizzle and skid across the facilities at Staton Sports, where ballplayers polish their skills and veteran coaches prep athletes to compete in a variety of sports. Backed by stints with three MLB organizations, the center's president and CEO, T.J. Staton, heads a staff of coaches who bring a combined 20-plus years of professional playing experience to each practice, game, and training session. The center's field also plays host to traveling teams, and inside two party rooms, visitors gather to celebrate birthdays or exalt an adolescent bat's aversion to the peer pressures of cork.
The Mahoning Valley Scrappers, a Short-Season A minor-league baseball team and affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, competes in New York-Penn League. The kid's club membership invites young baseball fans to all 38 home games and equips them with a membership club card for exclusive benefits around the community, a 10% souvenir discount, email newsletter throughout the season, and a Scrappers T-shirt to wear or use to keep fresh-baked pies warm. Fun-zone passes give kids access to an assortment of inflatable bouncy devices, occupying their time during pregame, seventh-inning stretches, and super-slow-motion replays. General-admission seating plants fans along the third-base line and into left field in prime area to snag a foul ball.
Bat-A-Rama's seven batting cages, which spit out softballs or baseballs, are designed to let the hitter pick the speed and height of the pitches based on skill level. Each $1 token forces the machines to throw 15 pitches, providing ample opportunity to practice swinging for the fences, hitting behind a runner, or catching moving balls in plastic grocery bags. Three of the seven cages spew both hardball and slow softball pitches, and one speedily whips out softballs sans arc. Though not included in this Groupon, Bat-A-Rama makes old-fashioned ice cream on-site.
Founded by sports enthusiast and former adolescent Rick Hart, Jump Start Sports works to enrich pupils' childhoods by developing useful life skills through athletics. Qualified counselors employ their wealth of experience working with children to help campers learn teamwork and fair play as well as the fundamentals of fielding baseballs, scoring soccer goals, or synchronizing pom-pom work. A course structure built around age-appropriate activities, group play, and free electives ensures that students never get bored, and an 8:1 pupil-teacher ratio enables one-on-one assistance to young champions as they practice the graceful art of pitching or the scheming intrigue of free-agent contract negotiation.
The City of Massillon Parks & Recreation Department takes great pride in ensuring that the Western Stark County community has safe and enjoyable leisure spaces and programs that improve the lives of all their residents. Their programs range from preschool age to seniors, and include indoor recreation spaces such as a 69,000-square-foot rec center, fitness area, and aquatics center. Outdoors, the department maintains 30 parks and open spaces, highlighted by the award-winning, 27-hole golf course, The Legends of Massillon.
Cheer on the first-place Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate and mahjong partners, as they seek to trounce their in-state rivals, the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. The Yankees get their run support from catcher Jesus Montero, currently batting .327, and incisive pitching from right-hander David Phelps—whose fastball has been known to punch small holes into the space-time continuum—helping him maintain a miniscule 3.19 ERA through 42 innings pitched. Ballgame attendees wash down their hot dog with a 22-ounce Pepsi product (a $6 value) while sporting a new, limited-edition SWBY Yankees T-shirt (an $11 value) and cap (an $18 value) with which to catch foul balls or small meteors from 300-level seats (a $10 value). Stick around after the last out has been recorded for a dazzling postgame display of fireworks.