Seattle Mariners to Build Baseball Academy in Dominican Republic
Adjusting the dimensions at Safeco Field is not the only construction that the Seattle Mariners will be apart of in the next few months. A piece of property in Boca Chica will be the new home to a 24-acre baseball academy.
The Mariners announced today that they will be making a major investment in international player development with the construction of a Latin American academy. Tim Kissner, the Mariners' new director of international operations, has spent the last week in the Dominican meeting with academy staff and watching young prospects. He said the new site has been cleared and now just needs to be filled and leveled before construction begins.
The upside to these players is unbelievable, but they don't have the coaching, the housing, the nutrition that kids we're signing out of the States do and they don't have the organized baseball. When we sign them, they have raw tools, but their skills need to be developed. If we have our own facility to feed and house and educate them, it's a safe place for them to live and have instruction on the field and in the classroom to help them reach their maximum potential. If you're going to be active down here, you need something like this. - Tim Kissner
The facility will house up to 80 young Dominican prospects who will be able to live, train, attend school and develop their baseball skills. It will include two full-sized fields, lighted batting cages, six mound bullpen facility, and a practice field. Adjacent to the fields will be the dormitory, dining hall, classrooms and computer labs. Final construction cost is expected to exceed $7 million.
The Mariners are among a handful of teams investing in and owning their own academy there. Four teams, including the Mariners, also have teams in Venezuela.