Athletic Support: City needs new baseball complex | Sports

Dear Athletic Support: We’re deep in the throes of travel baseball season, and I love it! I read your column every week and most of the time it’s somebody complaining about something.

I’m not here to complain. I just have a question. I live in Arkansas, right outside of Little Rock, and every weekend we travel all over the state, and sometimes even outside the state (to places like Oklahoma or even Louisiana) to play in tournaments.

I can’t remember the last time we played a tournament right here in Little Rock, and I know why. It’s because we don’t have a quality complex. All these other places we go make Burns Park and the Junior Deputy Complex look like bush-league jokes.

What could be the reason behind this? Why are we forced to travel so far for these tournaments when we live near a bigger-than-average city like Little Rock? Surely, there’s money to be made.

Dear Little Rock: Yes, there is money to be made. A whole bunch of money.

Let’s say there are 20 teams in a tournament. Each of those teams has at least 10 kids on it. That’s 200 kids – 200 families – flocking into a town for one weekend.

Those families get hotel rooms. They eat at local restaurants. And that’s not even mentioning the money that’s made from the tournament.

Travel league baseball is a booming business, which in some ways makes it an exclusive sport.

This is another topic that deserves its own column, but I will mention it here.

There are many families who simply cannot afford to play travel league ball. As a result, many young sluggers are denied the chance to craft the skills necessary to play baseball at a higher level.

For this reason – as well as the potential to bring in big bucks – it would be very wise for a city like Little Rock to invest in a new baseball complex.

Not only would the city stand to generate revenue, but it would also help open the doors to less-privileged young athletes.

What better deal could you ask for?

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. His debut novel, Don’t Know Tough, is available wherever books are sold. Send in questions for “Athletic Support” by using the “Contact” page at

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