An International League mainstay, the Columbus Clippers have prepped future stars for the big leagues since 1977. The team has claimed 10 Governors' Cups over the years, most recently in 2015. 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."
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.