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Major League Baseball is pitching a plan to bring the game back to the site of the old Tiger Stadium, although its vision for a MLB Urban Youth Academy at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull faces financial hurdles and lacks support from a key city official.
Darrell Miller, the league’s vice president of youth and facility development, said Monday that his office is considering several possible Detroit locations for an academy, particularly the old stadium grounds. He declined to identify the other possible sites.
The academy would provide free year-round baseball and softball instruction for youngsters and involve the construction of ballfields, indoor facilities, batting cages and offices.
Major League Baseball has built four such academies in Houston, New Orleans, Puerto Rico and Compton, Calif. Three other locations are under development in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Hialeah, Fla. Major League Baseball says more than 10,000 youngsters have attended its academies since the first site opened in Compton in 2006. Nearly 350 academy participants have gone on to play collegiate baseball or softball, and close to 200 have been chosen in the MLB’s First-Year Player Draft.
Miller said the league would like to establish youth academies in or near every city with a major league team.
He said it’s too early to put a price tag on a Detroit proposal, but said academies typically cost $3 million to $6 million. Major League Baseball will contribute a portion of the necessary investment — but not all. In January, Commissioner Bud Selig committed the league to a $1.5-million investment for a planned Reds MLB Urban Youth Academy in Cincinnati.
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