October 30, 2009
By: Korie Sawyer

The USA Baseball National Training Complex - A Grand Slam Success Story

The USA Baseball National Training Complex (NTC) located in Cary, N.C., has been a grand slam since its opening in the summer of 2007. As it completes its second full season this fall, this world-class facility has held numerous major events, and big plans for the coming years are already in the works.

"The USA Baseball National Training Complex has lived up to our expectations and beyond," said Paul Seiler, Executive Director and CEO of USA Baseball. "That goes for everything, from the quality of the fields to the overall appearance and care given by the Town of Cary, to the common areas such as parking, the main entrance, shrubbery, etc."

The USA Baseball NTC is the home of amateur baseball in the United States. The national headquarters relocated from Tucson, Ariz., to Cary in 2003 after the Town of Cary guaranteed to build the National Training Complex. The facility is now managed through a partnership between USA Baseball and the Town of Cary.

"It is obvious even to the casual observer that the Town of Cary takes a lot of pride in what it has to offer its citizens, and when we asked them to do the same and more for the USA Baseball National Training Complex, they did not even hesitate" Seiler said.
The Complex is located in the 221-acre Thomas Brooks Park and includes four baseball fields (one stadium field and three training fields) all maintained to Major League Baseball standards. Having all fields at MLB standards is very important in terms of attracting events to the facility and was a key factor in relocating the sport's National Governing Body to Cary, according to Seiler.

Since opening in 2007, many major events have been held at the complex, providing tremendous exposure and publicity for the NTC. These events include the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars (an annual showcase event), the University of North Carolina's 2008 home schedule, the 2008 NCAA Baseball Regional and Super Regional (both hosted by UNC), the U.S. Olympic Team vs. Canadian National Team in 2008, the 2009 NCAA Baseball Division II World Series, and the 2010 U.S. National Team Identification Series (held in September '09).

Without question, that list of events makes for an impressive lineup, especially when you consider it was compiled in just two years.
Seiler indicated that, since day one, the NTC has drawn rave reviews from baseball officials representing a myriad of organizations.

"Many people in our industry were aware this project was under way several years ago, yet when they first see the facility they cannot say enough good things about it and how impressed they are with what was actually built," Seiler said. "I don't know why that is, but in a sport where scouts, players and officials attend many games over the course of a year, this facility seems to stand out."

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau works closely with both the Town of Cary and USA Baseball to help bring plenty of great events to the park. Scott Dupree, Vice President for Sports Marketing at the GRCVB, cites one recent example of how the NTC impressed an important group of visitors.

"When Cary hosted the NCAA Division II Baseball World Series last May, the eight head coaches could not stop talking about the quality of the complex, as well as the natural beauty of the facility," Dupree said. "It was like their personal Field of Dreams. The USA Baseball NTC has turned out to be everything we could have possibly envisioned ... and more. It is an absolute jewel of a venue, and we are constantly hearing rave reviews from the players and coaches who visit the park."

With no major issues or concerns in regard to the facility over the first two years, plans for developing and enhancing the venue have already begun. A large clubhouse is the next project for the NTC, as support from the Town of Cary, Wake County and private funding have helped to jump-start design ideas on the physical structure, according to Seiler.

"Once those discussions and decisions are made and we break ground, the biggest challenge we will have at the NTC will be deciding which tournaments, games and events we will have to say no to," Seiler said. "Over the next several years as the facility and its capabilities expand, we think the possibilities are endless as to the events and spectators that will enjoy this world-class venue."

Even with a state-of-the-art facility, the NTC could not have flourished without tremendous support from the local community. Chris Duty, Athletic Facility Supervisor for the Town of Cary and the NTC, describes how the local community has contributed a great deal to the success of the complex.

"We have good turn outs for USA Baseball games and events at the complex in addition to great participation numbers in the camps and clinics we offer here," Duty said. "We also work with the local Town of Cary high schools each year to provide each school the opportunity to play a regular season game at the NTC."
So, after two-plus years since the opening of the NTC, it's clear that this sparkling, new venue has proven to be a smashing success by any measure.

And looking ahead, USA Baseball and its local partners are already busy making big plans for 2010 and beyond.
Already on the schedule for the upcoming spring and summer: the Bobby Murray High School Invitational, the 2010 NCAA Baseball Division II World Series, the USA Baseball Tournament of Stars and the 2011 U.S. National Team Identification Series.