FORT WAYNE – The idea for the Parkview Sports Medicine Baseball Series – 14 games featuring 28 area high school teams, at Parkview Field, spread across seven dates in April and May – wasnt born in the Parkview Field batting cage. But maybe it was nurtured there.
Thats where Kevin Kiermaier, a former Bishop Luers standout and now a rising star for the Tampa Bay Rays, has spent his lunch hours this winter. And thats where TinCaps President Mike Nutter caught up with him Wednesday.
Talking about old times, Nutter said Wednesday evening, when the Series was unveiled. We want youth baseball in this region to be thought of like our youth football and basketball are. We dont have to take a back seat to anybody.
Kiermaier and any number of other area players currently playing in college or the minor leagues are proof of that.
And so, the Parkview Sports Medicine Series – a collaborative effort among Parkview Sports Medicine, Athletes With Purpose, SportOne and other entities – will give dozens of area high school players the full professional treatment: Radio and TV coverage of the games, videoboard intros of each player as he comes to bat, on-field warm-ups with the batting cages, the whole business.
Its a collaboration with many different organizations that are getting together to try to bring a better level to the athletes that are in the area, says Eric Jenkinson, medical director of Parkview Sports Medicine.
So this is one of those collaborative events that we decided to go with to say, hey, this is a great opportunity for these area high schools to play at a great field and have this experience which they may never have again.
Sounds good to longtime New Haven coach Dave Bischoff.
First of all, I think its a wonderful opportunity, he said Wednesday. The kids look forward to it, they come out here to watch games as fans, and then to get out there on the field – what a great way to imagine that you could make it someday as a player.
That kind of opportunity just shows how involved the TinCaps are in the community. Its one reason theyre one of the tops in the business.
Nutter merely sees it as part of a compact the franchise entered into when Parkview Field was built.
When this place was built, we said we wanted to be a community resource, he said. Weve played a handful of (high school) games every year, but this is literally going to take it to a new level.