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Fred "Papa" Smith held summer baseball camp at Southern Recreation Grounds, Nassau. FPSA was established in 2011

Fred Papa Smith Camp
Group Photoshoot Baseball Support Team
Number 45 Baseball Tshirt
Baseball Team Photoshoot

Hon. Mario K. Bowleg, Bahamas Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, paid a courtesy call on Marion Ford Baseball Camp at Windsor Park, Nassau, July 9, 2022. The camp was established in 1986.

Baseball “will not be the same” without Jeff Albury

By BRENT STUBBS Senior Sports Reporter bstubbs@tribunemedia.net (February 16, 2022)
Albury, owner of Island Wholesale, died on February 13, after celebrating his 73rd birthday on February 7. He is survived by his wife Margo, son Christopher, a grandson and a host of persons, whom he called his family in baseball.
The BBA, in its tribute to Albury, described how he helped to pioneer JBLN when it was officially established in 1989.
The Bahamas Baseball Association and the Junior Baseball League of Nassau will not be the same without its long-time JBLN Commissioner Jeff Albury.
From then to now, Albury has been a big supporter of youth baseball and the BBA.

“Jeff’s love for the game and the youth was evident by the countless hours and treasure he gave to the overall development of young people through baseball and softball,” said BBA secretary general Teddy Sweeting.

“His presence, commitment and leadership will be sorely missed by family, friends and countless persons that he mentored as the ultimate father figure.”

Albury, known as a die-hard and he constantly exclaimed “All Rise” after a homer by Aaron Judge, was also a pivotal member of the formation of the Bahamas Baseball Federation in 2003.

As one of the persons responsible for the resurgence of baseball to what is happening today with so many young players earning professional contracts, the BBF honoured Albury with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

“The BBA and the entire baseball community is saddened at the loss of a Bahamian icon,” Sweeting said.

“One thing about Jeff, he never desired the limelight and preferred to remain behind the scenes. However, today in honour of Jeff Albury we say ‘all rise.’”

Message from BBA Secretary General on the passing of Jeff Albury

Jeff Albury celebrated his 73rd birthday on Monday February 7th. He and his wife Margo, had one son, Christopher and one grandson.  
Jeff was a pioneer as one of the original minds to establish the Junior Baseball League of Nassau in 1989, and a big supporter of youth baseball and the Bahamas Baseball Association.  
Jeff’s love for the game and the youth was evident by the countless hours and treasure he gave to the overall development of young people through baseball and softball.
His presence, commitment and leadership will be sorely missed by family, friends and countless persons whom he mentored as the ultimate father figure.

It was no secret that Jeff loved the New York Yankees as he constantly exclaimed “All Rise” after a homer by slugger Aaron Judge.

Jeff was a pivotal member of the Bahamas Baseball Federation 1st executive board in 2003 which began the resurgence of Baseball to what is happening today. The BBF honored Jeff with its LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD in 2014.  

The BBA and the entire baseball community is saddened at the loss of a Bahamian icon.  One thing about Jeff, he never desired the limelight and preferred to remain behind the scenes.  However, today in honour of Jeff Albury we say, “ALL RISE”.

May his soul rest in baseball heaven.
Three men
Picture of Six Men

Four Bahamians are new certified umpires

BRENT STUBBS Senior Sports Reporter bstubbs@tribunemedia.net (March 16, 2022)
Man holding helmet
Men Playing
Men Talking
Two Men Taking Picture
Picture of a man holding helmet
MARTIN ‘Pork’ Burrows Sr. will now be joined by four other Bahamians as certified members of the College Baseball Umpire Association Organization (CBUAO).
Martin, along with Andrew Burrows and Ainsworth Beckford from New Providence and Wayne Basden and Oscar Green from Grand Bahama, participated in the CBUAO College Baseball Recruitment and Refresher Clinic that was conducted over the weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Attending the event, which attracted about 32 umpires, Burrows, Beckford, Basden and Green all passed the certification course, which Martin did when he first attended the event by himself a year ago.
“I am very satisfied with how the umpires performed and conducted themselves,” Burrows said. “They all made huge improvements every day and on the very last day, they were put to the test to umpire a game with just the Bahamian umpires.”
In a seven-inning game, Beckford started out calling behind the plate, Burrows was on first, Basden on third and mid-way during the game, Burrows replaced Beckford at the plate, while Green took over at first.

“It was a job well done. No hiccups. I was very proud of my Bahamian umpires,” said Burrows, who noted that the entire Bahamian contingent got high marks from the organizers and the fellow umpires from outside of the country.

The clinic was organized and conducted by Nick Zibelli.

Burrows said this core of umpires will now put their certification to the test when they are expected to lead the local delegation of umpires as they officiate at the Babe Ruth Caribbean Baseball Championship, scheduled for July 7-11 at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.

A number of international umpires are also expected in town from around the world to officiate in the tournament being organized by the Local Organizing Committee, headed by Caribbean director Greg Burrows Sr.

Martin Burrows Sr., who will continue his training sessions for local umpires, said he now wants to take the umpire classes into the schools, both private and public, so that they can develop more persons interested in officiating at the games.
Picture of Two Men

Tommy Stubbs of Bahamas Events & Sports presents a hitting & pitching screen set in Abaco to AYBL president Troy Feaste.

Picture of Two Men with Baseball Bat
AYBL president Troy Feaste accepts donated baseball equipment in Abaco from Bahamas Baseball Association president Sam Rodgers Sr. who also presented baseballs to the youth at Big Nige Park, Cooper’s Town.

Abaco Youth Baseball “hits a home run!”

Written By Bahamas Events & Sports (BES) Published in The Tribune, March 18, 2022

Troy Feaste got exactly what he waited for since he established the Abaco Youth Baseball League in 2019, just before the pandemic. He got all hands on deck.

Feaste welcomed some of the most prominent makers and shakers in baseball and softball in the Bahamas in Abaco who came to offer support, encouragement, and conduct training clinics or donate equipment to assist the youth programs on the island, still recovering from hurricane Dorian and the pandemic.

Under the ABYL’s motto “No Child Left Behind,” Feaste proved this point by assembling over 70 boys and girls – ranging in ages 7-18 – for the two-day baseball and softball training clinic at Murphy Park in Murphy Town, near Marsh Harbour in Abaco.

“I want to personally thank Bahamas Baseball Association president Mr Sam Rodgers Sr, Mr Tommy Stubbs of Bahamas Events & Sports, Mr Andy Ford of the Ministry of Sports and National Sports Authority, and Mario Ford of Mario Ford Baseball Camp (based in Nassau) for taking time to come over to Abaco and work with our children in the AYBL.”

“These gentlemen made a significant impact on our organization, every child and adult,” Feaste said.

“I tip my hat to them for their experience and knowledge in the game of baseball and softball. Our country needs men like them to assist throughout our islands.

“The children were very attentive to the instructions and we’re eager to learn more.”

“We, in the AYBL, can only take our kids so far until the experts, like these men, find it necessary to come out and help programmes like ours. I was in absolute awe of how valuable they are to the growth and development of sports in our country. They taught the game of baseball and explained how to prepare the playing field for games.”

With the continued support and assistance from coaches, parents and sponsors, Feaste believes the AYBL will mold the children of Abaco into better productive citizens who will make a valuable impact on the world.

“This programme is a youth development programme that is designed to teach the children the game of baseball,” the AYBL president said. “It will enable their eligibility to receive scholarships in and around the sport.”

Feaste was elated to receive from the BBA an assortment of baseball bats, helmets, catcher’s gear, gloves and baseballs; and a batting/pitching screen, ball bags and batting-T from Tommy Stubbs of Bahamas Events & Sports who initiated and organized the trip.

“This trip to Abaco was long overdue, mainly because of hurricane Dorian and then the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Stubbs. “The children and young men and women in Abaco have endured more than their share of tragedies and inconveniences. “They need our assistance more than most. We were glad to offer assistance and we’ll continue to offer more help where possible.”

Feaste extends gratitude to Western Air, BBA secretary general Teddy Sweeting, and Terran Rodgers, director and acting commissioner of the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) for their donations and support.

“As we begin this new year, we have significant plans to continue our journey of youth development through sports building on our league’s mantra of ‘No Child Left Behind,’” added Feaste. “We plan to grow more than we are right now, developing the youth throughout Abaco giving them more hope and possibilities.”

To start the day of activities, the AYBL hosted the 1st annual Kevin Murray Fun, Run Walk. Murray passed away in 2021.

“Coach Murray was born in Nassau and lived in Abaco for over 40 years,” said Feaste. “He was one of the original and dedicated coaches of our league. He was very passionate about developing the youth of Abaco in the game of baseball.”

Dr Charite and his team from Integrated Medical Services conducted free health screenings at the park.

“We need everyone’s help with developing the children in our community,” says Feaste. “Please consider partnering with us as we proactively invest in the youth in Abaco. Sports is the antidote for crime.”

“The baseball clinic in Abaco was a great success,” said Rodgers. “The children were very interested with big smiles across their faces. For me, that felt great. Mario, Andy and Tommy did a magnificent job in getting the attention quickly of about 70 boys and girls. It was a great weekend in Abaco.”

BBA president Rodgers was pleased to announce that the BBA had some of its executives in Cooper’s Town, Abaco, at the Big Nige Park to conduct a baseball clinic, led by BBA assistant treasurer Sonia Knowles and BBA assistant secretary general Tracey Albury, assisted by “Ping” Richardson, one of Grand Bahama’s former baseball and softball players.

“This past weekend, my ministry assisted a team of highly-skilled and trained professionals to host a baseball skills camp in Abaco,” said Mario Bowleg, Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture.

“The expertise offered by these individuals, including Mario Ford, who now works within my ministry, was well received by the Abaco Youth Baseball League,” said Minister Bowleg. “It gives me great joy to know that our youth are getting the proper training and assistance needed. This is the starting foundation for our next professional baseball players. This event was a home run.”

“Study shows that when a child is involved in sports their social interaction, confidence, motor skills and overall health improves,” said Bowleg. “One of the primary objectives of the sports department within the Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture is to provide opportunities for Bahamians to compete in the various sporting disciplines.”

“This means ensuring that the needs on every island, especially in the Family Islands, are met, whether through facility upgrades, sporting and educational courses, training and equipment through partnership with all federations, public and private organizations.”
Abaco baseball softball players
Abaco baseball softball players 2
Picture of Players
Youth Baseball Abaco Logo

Standing from left, Andy Ford, senior superintendent of facilities at National Sports Authority (NSA) and Ministry of Sports; AYBL coaches Jeff Ferguson and Charles Albury; AYBL president Troy Feaste; Bahamas Baseball Association president Sam Rodgers Sr.; AYBL coach Chivargo McKenzie, Mr. Penn (AYBL umpire); softball coach George Murray; Mario Ford, sports officer at Ministry of Sports; an AYBL player. Kneeling at center, (shades) Tommy Stubbs of Bahamas Events & Sports, and AYBL coach Pedro Williams with ABYL players.

Ground Breaking
‘Jazz’ Chisholm of Miami Marlins Breaks Ground, Starting In Pinewood Gardens, Nassau, Bahamas

‘JAZZ’ CHISHOLM OF MIAMI MARLINS BREAKS GROUND, STARTING IN PINEWOOD GARDENS

By RENALDO DORSETT
#Tribune Sports Reporter
rdorsett@tribunemedia.net
The Pinewood Sports Complex is set to receive a major upgrade due to several groups of investors and Bahamian Major League Baseball (MLB) player Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm.

The Miami Marlins infielder hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the fields yesterday in conjunction with representatives from his agency – RocNation Sports, International Elite Baseball Academy, Bahamas Baseball Association executives, and the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture.

“We are going to touch all the fields, we are just starting here. We are going to touch Freedom Farm, touch Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN), we are going to end up in Inagua if we have to, so let’s get it done,” Chisholm said.

“It’s a group effort between everybody that has something to do with this project. You have Magical Builders, RocNation Sports and coach Geron – he’s been there from day one. Mike Rodriguez from RocNation – you grabbed me when I was 18-19 years old and you told me I was going to make a lot of money and do this right. You have been fighting everybody for me, owners and GMs because you believed in me.”

Chisholm said he drew inspiration from all levels of Bahamian baseball, ranging from the young players he interacted with at Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise Kid’s Clinic mimicking his batting stance, to his fellow Bahamian professional players for their support.

 

“It’s been an emotional day, and this is a truly touching moment,” Chisholm said. “Seeing seven-year-old kids toe-tapping like me.”

“I’ve had major leaguers say to me they started toe-tapping when they saw me in the minor leagues and didn’t want to leg kick and I thought ‘oh, that’s cool,’ but now I see so many young Bahamian kids, hundreds of them out there, who just want to be another Jazz Chisholm. Today was a special day for me.”

“I want to thank everyone for their support. From the little kids to my fellow Bahamian pro ball players, my brothers, you all don’t even understand what you all do for me. You guys all touch my heart. I have to thank the Prime Minister (Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis) and the Minister of Sports (Hon. Mario Bowleg) for their support.”

“I know it’s been a difficult time. Last, but not least, I have to thank my family. My grandmother, it’s all love, it’s all you and you always make my dreams come true. I always tell her she can’t leave me before I reach the Hall of Fame.”

Geron Sands, director of International Elite Academy, said the upgrade to the complex will serve the community, along with the young baseball and softball players of the academy. International Elite hosts its on-field training at the Pinewood Complex.

“This is something that we have been working on from a very long time from a community standpoint so we can get more kids out here playing baseball on an everyday basis. We also want people to know we will be having softball as well. It is a major part for our young ladies.”

“For all the guys, like Jazz Chisholm, Lucius Fox and the others, I get so many questions about the ladies. It’s something we plan to really focus on and we will have a softball park on this compound in the very near future,” Sands said.

“The idea is to have Jazz help renovate every park in The Bahamas. We know what can come from this, whether it’s a scholarship to help further your education or a professional contract, the game of baseball has the ability to change lives. We want to thank the Bahamian baseball community for their support, the Bahamas. The whole thing is to just help these kids to become productive citizens of our country and give back in any way they can.”

Bahamas Baseball Association secretary general, Teddy Sweeting, said the event marked another milestone for the sport in the country. “It’s an exciting time for baseball. Geron came to the association with great enthusiasm and he has the full support of our organisation to make sure that this process comes to fruition,” he said. “To see where we are headed in the sport of baseball is amazing. These young men are the catalysts but always be mindful of the young men coming up behind you, you lead the way.”

Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture Mario Bowleg said the improvement of infrastructure is a major part of his government administration’s platform.

“We want to build up this field and others like it to build up baseball all throughout this country, especially in the inner city,” he said.

“As minister of youth, sports and culture it is my responsibility to oversee that we create better facilities not only for baseball but for all sporting disciplines to find those diamonds in the rough. They said ‘If you build it, they will come,” so we have to do our part to build the facilities up to standard.”

Chisholm continues his community outreach efforts with iElite at the Pinewood Complex since he began his tenure with the Miami Marlins organization.

In January 2020, he hosted a clinic at the complex in conjunction with RocNation Sports where players received several hours of training in the fundamentals at various skill positions, including hitting, fielding, and pitching, and participants were presented with give-aways of Marlins gear and memorabilia. 

Jazz: ‘I Want To Win MVP’ of MLB
2 Gentlemen
Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture Mario Bowleg greets Major League Baseball star Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm @ Fusion SuperPlex
Player

Welcome Home Jazz!

Tribune Dec. 2021

‘Jazz’ Chisholm of Miami Marlins Breaks Ground, Starting In Pinewood Gardens, Nassau, Bahamas

By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

After missing out on an historic Major League 20/20 (home run/stolen base) feat this past season that was hampered by an injury, Bahamian Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm said he’s looking forward to improving in his quest to go after the Most Valuable Player award.

The Miami Marlins’ second baseman and shortstop completed the season with 18 home runs and 23 stolen bases to go along with 115 hits, 70 runs and 53 runs batted in from his 464 at-bats with an average of .248.

The Marlins, managed by Don Mattingly, finished with a 67-95 win-loss record for fourth place in the Nationals League East, but it wasn’t enough to get them in the postseason.

Chisholm, who has been a smashing hit for the Marlins because of his flamboyant style of play, said it was good to finally be back home in two years since he cracked Miami’s line-up on September 1, 2020, and made his defensive debut that night against the Toronto Blue Jays.

He was greeted at Fusion Superplex IMAX by Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture Mario Bowleg, members of the Bahamas Baseball Association, and family and friends in a welcome ceremony.

“Welcome back home,” Bowleg told Chisholm. “I felt the injury held you back. If you had not gotten injured, I know you would have made that 20/20. So I’m looking forward to some great things from you in the future.”

As the new “sheriff” in town, Bowleg promised Chisholm that anytime he returned home, he would be treated in the manner as was the case during his return on Sunday. He ensured that he could call on him at any time for his assistance.

BBA president Sam Rodgers said while he and Chisholm enjoyed their friendship over the years, he was pleased to welcome him home on behalf of the BBA, which has been following his progress with a lot of interest.

“We thank you for what you are doing for baseball in the world and for the Bahamas,” he said. “We’re behind you 100 percent and whatever we can do, please call us and we will make sure that you come home in style.”

BBA’s secretary general Teddy Sweeting, who organised the event along with Tommy Stubbs, thanked everyone for coming out and showing their support for Chisholm.

“We have a big announcement on Thursday night about the Bahamian Heritage Night in Miami for Jazz,” Sweeting revealed. “Looking forward to it and to everybody coming into Miami for that big night.”

One of the special dignitaries on hand for the brief ceremony was professional boxer Tureano ‘Reno’ Johnson, who also welcomed Chisholm home.

“Congratulations on your past work and continue to work hard,” Johnson said. “You have shown a lot of resilience, especially after that injury you had. Welcome, home buddy.”

Javari Southard, the director of food and beverage at Fusion Superplex IMAX, said Chisholm has been an inspiration to the Bahamas and they have pledged their full support of his endeavours by allowing him access to their property whenever he deems it necessary.

Nardo Dean, representing the Ministry of Tourism, said it was a pleasure to welcome Chisholm home.

“You have done a great job for our country and I’m sure our minister, I. Chester Cooper, we are proud to have you here,” Dean said. “You are a Bahamian, who has done an awesome job representing us. Welcome back. We are proud of you.”

After a long day making the journey home, Chisholm thanked all of the persons who came and put a smile on his face as they continued to show him their love and support.

While he said the first thing he wanted to do was “eat some cracked conch,” Chisholm said he’s going to “win the MVP. That is where my focus is. Even though I came out to hang out with my family and friends, I will be in the gym working at 7am (today).

“I want to win the MVP. I know the injury kind of stopped it, but I know the potential that I have, so ain’t nothing wrong about challenging it. I’m going to go for it.”

Chisholm said he’s also looking forward to participating in the fourth Don’t Blink Home Run Derby that will be staged on Saturday at Atlantis, the title sponsor for the week-long event.

During his stay here, Chisholm said he will be working out with his local coaches Geron Sands and Albert Cartwright, who both came to Miami when he was on the 10-day disabled list and they held batting practice for him to help him in his rehab.

Having worked with him since he was eight years old, Sands said because of their close relationship, he is quite aware of his talent.

“He has a lot left in the tank. But I’m just proud of him,” said Sands, making reference to Cartwright, who also played a pivotal role in Chisholm’s success. “He’s a guy that puts in the work on and off the field. That’s what you get when you put in the work like he does.”

Chisholm, however, said his trek through baseball would not be possible without the support of his grandparents, including Pat Coakley, whom he hugged and thanked for her support.

When asked to give some words of advice to the youngsters hoping to follow in his footsteps, Chisholm told them to “never give up.”

“The day you give up is the day you will never make it,” he said.

“Even though you have all the talent to make it and you’re one of the best players in the world and you give up on your dreams or any dreams that you have as a baseball player, basketball, football player, anybody, I feel that’s when it goes down the drain. So never give up.”

4th annual Don’t Blink Home Run Derby week of activities at Atlantis resort, Nassau, Bahamas, featured Bahamian MLB Miami Marlins player Jazz Chisholm and many professional baseball players December 15-18, 2021.

Group Picture
Award

Don’t Blink Home Run Derby In Paradise Rocks With Kids’ Camp

Tribune Dec. 2021

By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

The Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise opened its busy schedule of events with a new initiative and a staple of previous editions.

The week opened with a Celebrity Softball game featuring local artists, athletes and influencers playing alongside the visiting Major League Baseball players at Paradise Harbour at the Atlantis resort on Wednesday night, December 15, 2021.

When the event organizers squared off, Todd Isaacs Jr’s team took a 17-15 win over Team Lucius Fox to conclude a fun-filled night highlighted by home runs into the ocean.

On Thursday morning, December 16, Fox and Isaacs hosted their annual kids’ clinic, also at Paradise Harbour, for scores of aspiring student-athletes. Clinic participants were drilled at various skill positions, including hitting, fielding, pitching, and base-running.

“Doing this for the kids, having guys from the major leagues and minor leagues that they watch on TV here present for them to see them, take pictures with them, ask them questions – it’s something we never had.

“It’s special. We’re just proud to make this event successful for them. It just showed the other kids behind me that it’s possible…hopefully I can make it to the big leagues and inspire the kids even more.”

Community outreach efforts like the kids’ camp remain a mandate of the group for the further development of the next generation of baseball players.

“I just want baseball to grow in the Bahamas. Over the years they’ve been talking about the Dominican Republic and all these Latin American countries, but I know we have the talent.

“If I can do my part to help the young guys be better than us then I will do just that. It’s never selfish when it comes to us we just look forward to breaking down as many doors as possible,” Fox said.

“Our whole goal was just to inspire as many kids as possible. We decided to bring it back to help those kids and also to give the Bahamian people something to enjoy.

“We always encourage everyone to come out and work out with the pros, interact with them and learn as much as you can. It will certainly be a fun-filled experience.

“We just wanted to do something for the Bahamian people. The kids are the future, we know that they’re the future, we take it upon ourselves to help them every chance we get.”

Friday, December 17, featured the inaugural Don’t Blink Golf Invitational and the weekend of activities concluded on Saturday, December 18, with the main event – the Home Run Derby – at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas.

“We want to build up this field and others like it to build up baseball all throughout this country, especially in the inner city,” he said.

Chisholm continues his community outreach efforts with iElite at the Pinewood Complex since he began his tenure with the Miami Marlins organization.

Teams Set For Home Run Derby In Paradise

Tribune Dec. 2021

By RENALDO DORSETT
#Tribune Sports Reporter
rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

The teams for the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise have been set for Team Fox and Team Isaacs as they prepare to decide the 2021 title.

Event organisers Todd Isaacs Jr and Lucius Fox Jr made their selections at the annual Don’t Blink Draft show with 42 hitters expected to compete at the fourth edition of the event, to be hosted on December 18 at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.

Each team will include 10 local prospects and 10 visiting players from various levels of baseball, including independent leagues, the minor leagues, and the MLB.

The local prospects for Team Fox will be headlined by Miami Marlins infielder Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm Jr, the first overall pick in the draft.

Other local Team Fox prospects include Warren Saunders (New York Mets), Ian Lewis (Miami Marlins), D’Shawn Knowles (Los Angeles Angels), Keithron Moss (Texas Rangers), DJ Collie (Webber University), Ellison Hanna (Hood College – Assistant Coach), D’Vaughn Knowles (New York Yankees), James Rolle (Baltimore Orioles) and Dax Stubbs (Baltimore Orioles).

The International players will be headlined by Rookie of the Year prospect, Wander Franco Tampa Bay Rays. He will be joined by Triston Casas (Boston Red Sox), MJ Melendez (Kansas City Royals), Akil Baddoo (Detroit TIgers), Dylan Carson (St. Louis Cardinals), Jeremiah Jackson (Los Angeles Angels), Marcus Wilson (Seattle Mariners), Justin Wylie (New Jersey Jackals), Zack Veen (Colorado Rockies) and Dalton Combs (San Francisco Giants).

Team Isaacs will include several first-time local participants, including the most recent members of the last international signing and MLB draft class.

BJ Murray (Chicago Cubs), Kristin Munroe (Los Angeles Angels), Andre Arthur (Miami Marlins), Adari Grant (St. Louis Cardinals), and Stephen Adderley (Miami Marlins) will all make their derby debut.

The group also includes veteran Anfernee Seymour (Kane County Cougars) and minor leaguers Chavez Young (Toronto Blue Jays), Everette Cooper (Houston Cougars), Trent Deveaux (Los Angeles Angels), and Davonn Mackey (Oakland Athletics).

Former Don’t Blink champion Lewis Brinson of the Miami Marlins will highlight the international group for Team Isaacs.

The group also includes Miguel Rojas (Miami Marlins), Will Benson (Cleveland Guardians), Dominic Smith (New York Mets), Khalil Lee (New York Mets), Richie Palacios (Cleveland Guardians), Josh Palacios (Toronto Blue Jays), Christian Koss (Colorado Rockies), Nick Gordon, and Mason Wynn (St. Louis Cardinals).

After several years of involvement, the Atlantis resort came on board as the title sponsor for this year’s event. Stakeholders also include REV, International Elite Baseball Academy, and California-based nonprofit – Magical Builders.

Magical Builder is a non-profit corporation that has managed the construction and renovation of dozens of charitable facilities.

Isaacs said the unique concept showcases the natural aesthetic of the Bahamas and the country’s young baseball talent.

“Our goal of the event is to always use this as a platform to highlight our Bahamian baseball players, our Bahamian athletes, and just show what the Bahamas consists of – our natural beauty and these beaches.

“We have the best beaches in the world,” Isaacs said.

“Being a baseball player, you wanted to really bring the beaches.

“So we decided to do something extremely crazy. Set up a stage and hit balls into the water,” he added.

Traditionally hosted in early January, the derby has grown in stature to be showcased prominently by several international media outlets, including the MLB Network, and features both minor and major league prospects from around the league.

Bo Bichette, of the Toronto Blue Jays, won the inaugural event in 2018 and repeated as champion in 2019. Brinson captured the title in 2020.

On Friday December 17, the participating players will host the annual kids’ clinic at the Atlantis resort in Paradise Harbour for aspiring student-athletes.

In 2020, the partnership with the Charles Johnson Foundation brought with it Major League Baseball’s Play Ball Initiative, the branch of the organization which hosts kids’ camps around the world.

The day will also feature another first on the Don’t Blink calendar, a celebrity softball game featuring derby participants and local influencers.

Saturday, December 18 will be the main event at the Atlantis resort.

For more information and VIP tickets to The Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise, please visit: www.atlantishomerunderby.com

“Atlantis Paradise Island is committed to growing and promoting sports tourism in The Bahamas.

“Global events like the Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise generates exposure, buzz, and most importantly opportunities for young athletes to experience professional events – right here at home,” said Audrey Oswell, president and managing director of Atlantis, Paradise Island.

Baseball stadium about 70-80 percent completed

The Nassau Guardian, Dec. 2, 2020

It was revealed during a tour of the new Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium yesterday, that the venue is between 70 to 80 percent completed.

Project Manager and Architect for the stadium Mike Foster, in the presence of Bahamas Baseball Association (BBA) officials, made the revelation to the local sports media.

 

“The last 30 percent, most will cover our external works like the field, parking area, landscaping, etc.,” said Foster.

 

Work began on the stadium, located opposite Government High School (GHS), in 2016 and was set to initially cost $21 million. It was set to be completed by the end of 2017.

Andre Rodgers National Baseball Stadium

However, according to the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle, during her portion of the 2020-2021 National Budget debate last month, the cost of the project to date is $27,486,658. She also said that the proposed completion date, notwithstanding unprecedented times, is December 2020.


Woslee Construction is the lead contractor.

Work on the stadium came to a halt in the first quarter of 2017 after Woslee Construction cited months of non-payment. Prior to the stoppage in 2017, work was progressing swiftly. Back in 2018, work resumed in late July/early August.

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing work to a screeching halt, timelines are affected again. Foster said there may be a cost to the delay and that is beyond his purview. No work began at the stadium up to yesterday.

“We are trying to evaluate what the damages are. We know there are damages and it has happened worldwide and in every business. The contractor has now lost 17 or 18 weeks and we have to imagine that there is some cost to that and how that will be dealt with is a little beyond my pay,” he said.


“It has slowed it down a lot. Like I said, we are still trying to restructure a schedule that will somehow see us to the end of the year or early next year. They will be relatively completed by then but right now we are in the process of re-organizing so to speak. Any time a contractor leaves a site and has to come back, he has to re-mobilize. Re-mobilization means money because he had to set aside a number of things – delays, shipment and those things have a cost. Nothing is free.”

There are more components that need to be brought into the country as the project progresses.

“There are still parts of this project that are overseas,” Foster said. “For instance, the outfield walls, padding, the screens, the lights, the scoreboards, the batter’s eye and a big scoreboard with video screens. They are still in the process of being ordered or are in shipment.

There is a lot of stuff that is still overseas, and you could imagine that you would have done business 17 or 18 weeks ago and you cannot seem to clear or matriculate that material or those processes to the site. All of that have to be restructured, re-organized, re-ordered or maybe even shipping re-plan – that costs money. We don’t know what that is yet.”

Foster took time to address some concerns such as the positioning of the stadium and the possibility of balls getting hit into nearby residents’ homes and onto the street.

“There is no location on that field where the sun will be in your face. We heard a rumor about the stadium being the wrong way. Let me make it very clear, it has nothing to do with the orientation of the stadium. The first and primary thing that we addressed was safety and the first thing in safety is no sun glare in the ballplayer’s face,” Foster said.

As for the balls hitting homes, he said that the center field is 400-feet and it is 320 feet in the corners. He added that the distance between the wall and the closest house is 250 feet. Pertaining to foul balls hitting cars, he said it will be difficult for balls to clear the roof and if they do, they will drop on the roof.

The stadium is said to be up to both Major League Baseball (MLB) and World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) standards. A statue of Andre Rodgers is set to be placed at the entrance of the stadium.

OFFICIAL SIGNING OF ANDRE RODGERS NATIONAL BASEBALL STADIUM

(July 2016)

National Stadium Signing
Signing
National Stadium Signing Group
National Stadium Signing Group Photo

Global baseball tournament comes to Grand Bahama

The Nassau Guardian, Dec. 18, 2020

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Ltd., along with the Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) and iElite Sports Academy out of Nassau, The Bahamas, is pleased to be among the sponsors of the upcoming New Balance Future Stars Series (NBFSS) 2020 World Combine International Baseball Tournament, taking place at the Emera Caribbean Baseball Park in Freeport, Grand Bahama this weekend.

The event will bring together youth baseball players to Grand Bahama from the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Canada and the United States, along with players from The Bahamas. The event is set for December 17-21.

 

“The world combine tournament is an annual global event that attracts skilled youth athletes from around the world,” said Director of Group Corporate Affairs and Government Relations at GBPA Philcher Grant. “We worked with iElite Sports Academy to have Grand Bahama host this much-anticipated tournament.

 

Of course, with the ongoing pandemic COVID-19, 2020 is a year like no other, and the health and safety of all involved is paramount. To that end, the event will be closed to the general public. Only players, parents, organizers, facility workers and the media will be permitted to be in attendance during tournament games.”

 

The event presents a vital opportunity for many of Grand Bahama’s businesses which continue to be challenged by the devastating impacts of Hurricane Dorian compounded by the effects of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Orders.

 

Local hotels, transportation providers, restaurants and tour operators have an opportunity to take advantage of the influx of players and families who will bring an anticipated one million dollars to the island’s economy. Due to GBPC’s efforts to restore the baseball park, which was severely impacted by Dorian, the island has a well-structured facility to host the tournament.

 

“Many of our tourism-related businesses including Pelican Bay Hotel and Taino Beach Resort, the Car Rental Association, H. Forbes Charter Services and others will benefit from this much needed trade on our island,” said Grant. “We expect that food and beverage providers and retailers of all kinds will see increased business during the five-day tournament. It’s our most significant opportunity since the pandemic hit for our economy to begin to turn around.”

 

Jeremy Booth, organizer of the tournament, is pleased to be able to bring the event to Grand Bahama.

 

“We are extremely excited to hold this long-awaited event in The Bahamas. We’re thankful for the group efforts to make it happen and are excited to take this step forward together,” Booth stated. “In addition, I am looking forward to exploring the possibility of building a long-term relationship in Grand Bahama, as the island’s geographical location is ideal for tournament organizers and participants alike.”

 

President and Co-Founder of iElite Sports Academy Geron Sands commented: “Today’s youth, including the many participating in this week’s tournament in Grand Bahama, are tomorrow’s leaders. The event provides an opportunity to reach two of this year’s key goals – to give children a sporting and development opportunity that they otherwise may not have, and to support the growth of baseball in The Bahamas.”

 

Other sponsors of the NBFSS 2020 World Combine Tournament include Cable Bahamas, Sanitation Services and B&B Galaxy. The event will be live streamed on ZNS.

Ground Breaking
‘Jazz’ Chisholm of Miami Marlins Breaks Ground, Starting In Pinewood Gardens, Nassau, Bahamas

‘JAZZ’ CHISHOLM OF MIAMI MARLINS BREAKS GROUND, STARTING IN PINEWOOD GARDENS

By RENALDO DORSETT
#Tribune Sports Reporter
rdorsett@tribunemedia.net
The Pinewood Sports Complex is set to receive a major upgrade due to several groups of investors and Bahamian Major League Baseball (MLB) player Jasrado “Jazz” Chisholm.

The Miami Marlins infielder hosted a groundbreaking ceremony at the fields yesterday in conjunction with representatives from his agency – RocNation Sports, International Elite Baseball Academy, Bahamas Baseball Association executives, and the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture.

“We are going to touch all the fields, we are just starting here. We are going to touch Freedom Farm, touch Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN), we are going to end up in Inagua if we have to, so let’s get it done,” Chisholm said.

“It’s a group effort between everybody that has something to do with this project. You have Magical Builders, RocNation Sports and coach Geron – he’s been there from day one. Mike Rodriguez from RocNation – you grabbed me when I was 18-19 years old and you told me I was going to make a lot of money and do this right. You have been fighting everybody for me, owners and GMs because you believed in me.”

Chisholm said he drew inspiration from all levels of Bahamian baseball, ranging from the young players he interacted with at Don’t Blink Home Run Derby in Paradise Kid’s Clinic mimicking his batting stance, to his fellow Bahamian professional players for their support.

 

“It’s been an emotional day, and this is a truly touching moment,” Chisholm said. “Seeing seven-year-old kids toe-tapping like me.”

“I’ve had major leaguers say to me they started toe-tapping when they saw me in the minor leagues and didn’t want to leg kick and I thought ‘oh, that’s cool,’ but now I see so many young Bahamian kids, hundreds of them out there, who just want to be another Jazz Chisholm. Today was a special day for me.”

“I want to thank everyone for their support. From the little kids to my fellow Bahamian pro ball players, my brothers, you all don’t even understand what you all do for me. You guys all touch my heart. I have to thank the Prime Minister (Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis) and the Minister of Sports (Hon. Mario Bowleg) for their support.”

“I know it’s been a difficult time. Last, but not least, I have to thank my family. My grandmother, it’s all love, it’s all you and you always make my dreams come true. I always tell her she can’t leave me before I reach the Hall of Fame.”

Geron Sands, director of International Elite Academy, said the upgrade to the complex will serve the community, along with the young baseball and softball players of the academy. International Elite hosts its on-field training at the Pinewood Complex.

“This is something that we have been working on from a very long time from a community standpoint so we can get more kids out here playing baseball on an everyday basis. We also want people to know we will be having softball as well. It is a major part for our young ladies.”

“For all the guys, like Jazz Chisholm, Lucius Fox and the others, I get so many questions about the ladies. It’s something we plan to really focus on and we will have a softball park on this compound in the very near future,” Sands said.

“The idea is to have Jazz help renovate every park in The Bahamas. We know what can come from this, whether it’s a scholarship to help further your education or a professional contract, the game of baseball has the ability to change lives. We want to thank the Bahamian baseball community for their support, the Bahamas. The whole thing is to just help these kids to become productive citizens of our country and give back in any way they can.”

Bahamas Baseball Association secretary general, Teddy Sweeting, said the event marked another milestone for the sport in the country. “It’s an exciting time for baseball. Geron came to the association with great enthusiasm and he has the full support of our organisation to make sure that this process comes to fruition,” he said. “To see where we are headed in the sport of baseball is amazing. These young men are the catalysts but always be mindful of the young men coming up behind you, you lead the way.”

Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture Mario Bowleg said the improvement of infrastructure is a major part of his government administration’s platform.

“We want to build up this field and others like it to build up baseball all throughout this country, especially in the inner city,” he said.

“As minister of youth, sports and culture it is my responsibility to oversee that we create better facilities not only for baseball but for all sporting disciplines to find those diamonds in the rough. They said ‘If you build it, they will come,” so we have to do our part to build the facilities up to standard.”

Chisholm continues his community outreach efforts with iElite at the Pinewood Complex since he began his tenure with the Miami Marlins organization.

In January 2020, he hosted a clinic at the complex in conjunction with RocNation Sports where players received several hours of training in the fundamentals at various skill positions, including hitting, fielding, and pitching, and participants were presented with give-aways of Marlins gear and memorabilia. 

Gallery

Freedom Farm Baseball League
Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN)

Grand Bahama Amateur Baseball Association

Legacy Baseball League

Map of Abaco Islands
North Abaco Baseball League