Mayor Sly James Friday announced plans to turn Parade Park into a Major League Baseball urban youth academy. In addition to providing free, year-round baseball and softball instruction and play, including hosting tournaments, coaching clinics and skills camps, the Academy will provide youth with access to tutoring programs, college prep classes, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs, courses teaching math through the use of baseball statistics and MLB industry alternative career workshops. The Royals will pay for the operating costs, beginning at $500,000 per year, and will regularly feature team instructors working with kids.
The Kansas City Star reports (http://bit.ly/1NS5FRT ) fundraising for the first phase is complete. “It breaks my heart to know there are kids who would fall in love with this game who never get the opportunity”. The $14 million project will include baseball and softball fields, basketball and tennis courts, a walking trail, playgrounds, and improvements to the area surrounding the Negro League Baseball Museum at 18th and Vine.
The academy will partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City to help grow the game of baseball in the inner city. The second phase would construct an indoor facility with a full-sized infield, batting cages, classrooms and office space.
However, Toronto holds the tiebreaker by beating Kansas City in the season series.
A study by the Society for American Baseball Research in 2012 found that just 7.2 percent of MLB players were black, a precipitous drop from its high point of 18.5 percent in 1975.
The first MLB academy in Compton, Calif., already has produced major league players, including Anthony Gose and Aaron Hicks.
Moore said the Royals are deeply committed to growing baseball in the community and the region.