Baseball academies in the works

The passion of Philadelphia sports fans has finally paid off — to the sound of $3 million.

The city will become the fourth city, and first in the northeast, to have a Major League Baseball Academy, officials announced yesterday. The partially MLB-funded project will provide free year-round baseball and softball instruction and educational support for thousands of youth.

The Phillies approached MLB five years ago about the idea. The Marian Anderson Recreation Center in southwest Center City and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park will serve as the two project sites. There will also be a 10,000-square-foot extension to the Anderson rec center to provide indoor training opportunities in addition to the massive expansion of the parks’ facilities.

“Philadelphia is passionate,” said Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB’s executive vice president for Baseball Development. “They basically reached out to us. They said we love this concept, we want to do this.”

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