League picks Los Angeles as site of new baseball academy

Tuesday, May 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Major League Baseball announced details Tuesday of a $10 million baseball academy intended to provide free training for underprivileged teens.

Children will learn the art of playing, coaching, umpiring, groundskeeping and other baseball-related skills at the Youth Baseball Academy, officials said.

``We hope this will be our showcase academy,'' said Jimmie Lee Solomon, senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball. ``We want to include as many former and current players to the academy as possible.''

The league first announced plans for the academy in 1999 as part of its Urban Youth Initiative. The academy is expected to be completed in fall 2002, serving some 150 kids ages 10 to 15 annually.

The league has chosen Hansen Dam recreation area in Lake View Terrace to build at least five baseball and softball fields, classrooms and training facilities. The site is about 25 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Residents hope the academy will provide more opportunities for children.

``Clinics are great, but they are usually very expensive, which means not all kids can have access,'' said Steve Marden, a former baseball coach at San Fernando High School.

Dodger spokesman Derrick Hall said the academy, fashioned after similar clinics in Latin America, will primarily target needy youths.