LAS VEGAS, NV –
“They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it…The one constant through all the years… has been baseball. America has…been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. It reminds of us of all that once was good and…could be again…” ~ Terrance Mann, Field of Dreams
Located in the midst of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas, On Deck Baseball Academy is a far cry from the cornfields of Iowa. But for many, it has certainly become, their “Field of Dreams.” Take 17 year old pitcher Trenton Kinney, who was innocently driving by the area and stumbled across the training facility. Kinney walked in and essentially never left. “When there’s no school, I come in as early as 9:00 am and leave at about 9:30 pm, I have a curfew,” says the shy budding star who already throws upwards of 80 mph pitches off the mound. And honestly, no one can blame him.
The idea for the baseball academy came as owner Andy Concepcion, coach for Club Baseball team, the Little Bronx Bombers, envisioned a facility that would give athletes an opportunity to train and master their skills in a setting that would offer the best facilities and equipment. Appropriately named, “On Deck,” Concepcion wanted to emulate the feeling and excitement of being in Major League Baseball.
“The On Deck circle is where the action is. There’s the feeling of being excited and nervous. You’re the next one up at bat. When we were building the facility, I wanted people to walk in our doors and feel that, but also feel like they were coming home,” says Concepcion.
And On Deck Baseball Academy, does just that. Walk through the doors of the 12,000 square foot indoor facility and feel at home as you stroll across Bronx Bomber’s Blvd. and up to home plate. Complete with plasma screens and pennants, the training academy suits the liking of any baseball enthusiast, young or old. The facility offers serious professional grade instruction in an atmosphere that offers a comfortable and family oriented feel.
The only center of its kind in the region, On Deck Baseball Academy does more than your typical batting cage. It is dedicated to developing baseball and softball players of every age and performance level, from tots to Professional Athletes by using expert instruction, coaching and development by a highly qualified staff.
Equipped with three ProBatter Professional PX2 pitching simulators and the Right View Pro hitting pitching analysis system, all endorsed and used by Major League Baseball teams such as the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates, the center is as close as you’ll get to training in the MLB.
“We used to joke around all the time that if you never find your way into the Big Leagues, On Deck is as close as you’ll get…The Yankees have three ProBatters, so do we,” says the likeable Concepcion, a Las Vegas native since 1987.
In addition to the state-of-the-art equipment, it’s not uncommon to find yourself training next to pro athletes at the only air-conditioned facility of its kind in Greater Nevada and beyond. Former hitting instructor Mike Easler frequents On Deck Baseball Academy and often trains other professional athletes there. You’ll also find the likes of Toronto Blue Jays Frank Thomas and Randy Ruiz, former Cubs outfielder Jacque Jones, White Sox Catcher Toby Hall and more. Also frequenting the turf, the coaching staff of major Division I colleges, like USC.
The official representative of USA Baseball in Nevada, Concepcion and the training facility are serious about the development of its athletes. In addition to the ProBatter tunnels which are designed to simulate real time pitching conditions, On Deck also provides a strength training facility coupled with expert instruction from personal trainer Sam Sadovia, all designed to help players to improve their speed and agility. The facility also offers a pro shop that is the sole region distributor of Jaeger sports J-bands and professional grade Max Bats used by the boys in the big show. Complete with Wi-Fi, trainer offices and a conference room, the center is adamant in providing every conceivable amenity to athletes looking to improve their game.
And the big-hearted Concepcion does not fail to deliver on his promise to help players and athletes of all levels.
“Ever since I started coming here, I’ve gotten more exposure. [Andy] helps out with that a lot. I spend a lot of my time here and it’s great to be able to train [alongside] and get advice from guys playing pro ball. We’re like family here,” says Vinnie Fresquez, Cimarron-Memorial High School Catcher, who was selected to compete in the USA Baseball Teams Identification Series in North Carolina earlier this year.
Concepcion, his wife Chasity and the entire staff at the facility believe that service, is key. Concepcion believes that in addition to providing the professional grade equipment and a top-notch facility, giving their patrons a sense of family and providing exceptional customer service is second to none.
On Deck Baseball Academy also offers pitching, hitting and catching clinics designed to help players at all levels, from ages 5 through college. Concepcion saw a real problem in Las Vegas and designed On Deck Baseball Academy as a solution. Concepcion noticed that players with aspiring dreams and talent could not get the proper development and exposure needed to foster a baseball career.
“Baseball is the greatest game in the world… I wanted to give kids an opportunity. There’s nothing like watching a kid hit his first game homerun, watching that ball sail and seeing a big grin as he rounds third base and comes home. Watching one of my guys strike-out another player, or even guys like Randy [Ruiz] do exceptionally well in the Big Leagues after working so hard for everything they believe in. There’s no better feeling in the world.”
“Where the Journey Begins,” more than the appropriate slogan for the only facility of it’s kind on the West Coast, located at 4145 N. Rancho Drive, Suite 110, Las Vegas, Nevada 89130, telephone 702-629-DECK (3325).
For more information, visit www.ondeckba.com.
Images by Mathew Steven CarpenterTags: Andy Concepcion, Baseball Training Facility, Las Vegas Baseball, Las Vegas Sports, Mike Easler, On Deck Baseball Academy, ProBatter PX2, Randy Ruiz, Trenton Kinney, USA Baseball, Vinnie Fresquez