Baseball is the only one of the four major sports where the actual size and shape of the playing surface can be drastically different from field to field. In the professional ranks it allows for each city to express itself through its park, sometimes with game-changing differences like Fenway Park’s Green Monster and or the bullpens in foul territory at Wrigley Field. For rights holders it means that no two baseball venues are alike, and some will fit the needs of your event better than others. Here are 10 top baseball facilities to consider for your next tournament:
Blue Valley Recreation Center
Overland Park, Kansas
A short drive south of downtown Kansas City, this massive complex boasts four separate clovers of diamonds and 24 fields total. Multiple youth tournaments can easily function at the same time, while multi-purpose fields and machine-fed batting cages give teams ample space to warm up so games stay on schedule. Covered bleachers, concession stands, picnic shelters, playgrounds and climbing rocks keep families happy and entertained between contests.
Banner Island Ballpark
Home of the Stockton Ports (Oakland A’s class A affiliate), this beautiful lakefront park makes a great main-field for high school and college-age tournaments. With seating for 5,500 and all the standard amenities you would expect in a professional stadium, players and families alike love what Banner Island Ballpark has to offer. Space out games and use the ballpark exclusively, or link up with local community colleges or high schools and make Banner Island the premier field.
You can eliminate the headache of rescheduling due to rain by scheduling your tournament at Ford Fields. All 12 of the park’s youth fields have synthetic turf infields specifically designed to drain water, so your event can play on through whatever unexpected shower comes your way. Hard-covered stands will keep fans dry in the rain and cool when the sun’s out. Paved concourses give each of this venue’s three clovers a professional look and feel.
Mason Sports Park
Within daily driving distance of Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus, Mason is home to the five-field Mason Sports Park. Each field is lit and surrounds a central pavilion with concession stands and restrooms, and nearby shaded picnic areas provide refuge between games. Families enjoy the large playground area while teams have covered dugouts and excellent playing surfaces. The park features four crushed-brick infields and one grass infield.
NewBridge Bank Park
Greensboro, North Carolina
Downtown Greensboro’s NewBridge Bank Park makes a great main site for any Tar-Heel State baseball tournament. The stadium opened in 2005 and is home to Miami Marlins Class A affiliate the Greensboro Grasshoppers. NewBridge can seat 7,499, has two lawn-seating and picnic areas, 36 concession stands and a kid-safe play park. Last year’s ACC Championship took advantage of the park, as did the 2008 South Atlantic League All-Star Game.
El Pomar Youth Sports Park
Colorado Springs, Colorado
It’s hard to find a better backdrop for baseball than the Rocky Mountains, and that’s what you get at El Pomar Youth Sports Park. The 58-acre complex features nine total baseball fields, six of which can play 60- or 70-foot bases, and three of which can play 80 or 90. Portable mounds on the youth fields allow you to customize the park for each age group, and eight multi-purpose fields give teams plenty of room to warm up and practice. El Pomar also has a concession area and a major trailhead that leads to the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail.
Conway Station Park
Conway Station Park gives youth tournaments a big-time yet cozy feel, with nine beautiful, lit grass infields. Each clover of diamonds has its own central pavilion, while a concession and restroom building is located at the center of the complex. Grandstands are covered and have backed-bleacher seats, and several friendly features make this venue seem as much a family park as a tournament locale. Families enjoy checking out the on-site caboose, the amphitheater next to the pond and the large, central play area.
Ripken Baseball Academy
Started in his hometown by Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr., Ripken Baseball Academy features nine unique baseball fields. Teams from around the country are drawn to the park’s youth-sized replicas of Camden Yards, Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, which can accommodate either 60- or 70-foot bases. The complex includes professional quality batting cages and bullpens, as well as a synthetic infield training area. The surrounding trees make this a tranquil setting for a game of baseball.
Vero Beach Sports Village
Vero Beach, Florida
The former spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers now hosts youth tournaments and can give your event professional quality fields for every game. The 6,500-seat Holman Stadium is the highlight of the Vero Beach complex, but there are four additional full-size fields for tournament use. Another two infield training areas, eight indoor and four outdoor batting cages, and 32 off-field pitching mounds mean that teams will have plenty of space to get prepared for each match-up.
East Cobb Baseball Complex
This gorgeous complex outside Atlanta is know for its red Georgia dirt and its putting green-like infield and outfield grass. The ECBC has three full-size fields, an additional five for 60 or 70-foot bases and covered batting cages. Concession and bathroom facilities are central in each of the venue’s clovers. The complex hosts several large CABA tournaments each year, and many high schools and colleges in the area also rent out facilities for big events.