Major League Baseball strikes out in Hialeah
After nearly six years focusing on a site in Hialeah for a local baseball academy targeted at minority youths, Major League Baseball executive Darrell Miller has turned his efforts toward finding a different location somewhere in South Florida.
In August, he was here looking for sites and was “very encouraged by what we’re finding,” Mr. Miller told Miami Today. Although Mr. Miller said he does not have more information to unveil now, he said the goal is to establish the academy as quickly as possible. “Ideally, we’d like to find a site that’s ready to go,” he said last week.
The vice president of youth and facility development for Major League Baseball, Mr. Miller said the plan is to have at least one – possibly two – major league sites to play collegiate games that must be between 300 and 320 feet down each foul line and between 380 and 400 feet from home plate to center field. In addition, he’d like the site to include a field for Little League and softball, which requires 225 feet across the board.
The league has considered a number of sites in Hialeah. Mr. Miller said discussion has halted now that city officials sent him a letter saying the two parties could not continue negotiations for a major-league sized field “without taking it out of service for a while.”
He said he looks forward to having an academy established in the Miami area soon, however.
“This is a high priority for me,” Mr. Miller said. “There are so many good athletes who we want to serve.”
So far, Major League Baseball has opened academies in Los Angeles, Houston and New Orleans. Several academies are under construction in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
A former player himself, Mr. Miller was a catcher for the California Angels from 1984 to 1988.
His siblings were also elite athletes: brother Reggie Miller, currently working as an National Basketball Association commentator for TNT television, played his entire 18-year career with the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, won a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Olympics and was introduced into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2012; sister Cheryl Miller, also a former player who starred at the University of Southern California, was a coach and general manager for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and is a TNT Sports sideline reporter for NBA games.