Fort Wayne, IN: The 2013 baseball season is winding down with the MLB playoff almost decided. The Fort Wayne Tin Caps were defeated by South Bend in the 2nd round of the Mid West League playoffs. Fort Wayne qualified, for the playoffs, in the first half of the season. This only part of the story when it comes to the success of baseball in downtown Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne’s Harrison Square Project demonstrates how important baseball is to the city’s downtown revitalization. It is clear to see the positives beginning to emerge as new projects are announced to help Fort Wayne citizens take advantage of Parkview Field and the related activities around it. Among others are: the Harrison (condos attached to Parkview Field) , the Ash Brokerage new high rise with shopping and retail, AWB Holdings announcement of a makeover of the 15 story, Anthony Wayne Bank building, into condos, office space, and shopping, and the University of St Francis with its purchase of the Scottish-Rite Auditorium to gain a downtown presents.
These are just a few of the major projects branching off of the Harrison Square Project, with its center being Parkview Field and all the ball park has brought to the city of Fort Wayne. As important as, Parkview Field and the Tin Caps are to the local baseball scene they are not the only major influences. The Fort Wayne area has produced major league stars either through the Tin Caps,Wizards (renamed the Tin Caps), high schools, travel teams, and college. Among the high schools that produced major league players are Homestead, Northrop, Norwell, and New Haven. Some of the players are:
Rob Bowen, MLB (2003–2008) Minnesota Twins, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics
David Doster, MLB (1996, 1999) Philadelphia Phillies
Jarrod Parker, current starting pitcher for the Oakland Athletics.
Eric Wedge, player, MLB (1991–1994) Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies; manager, MLB (2003–2009) Cleveland Indians, (2011—present)Seattle Mariners
others: Torii Hunter, Jake Peavy, Bobby Scales, Joakim Soria, Dale Thayer, Nate Freiman David Freese, Will Venable, Nick Hundley, Greg Burke, Matt Antonelli, Josh Geer, Josh Barfield, Éric Cyr, A.J. Pierzynski, Michael Cuddyer, Wade LeBlanc, Cliff Bartosh, Jack Cassel, Corey Koskie, Ben Johnson, Dennis Tankersley, JJ Trujillo, Michael Thompson, Latroy Hawkins, Scott Watkins, Matt Lawton, Dan Naulty, Brandon Gomes, Mat Latos
The travel teams are developing the players that go into the high schools; to name a few are: the Sluggers, the AWP Sports Cubs, the Strikezone, and Royville. There are many others in the surrounding area. To go along with the travel teams there are the facilities they use to practice year round. The World Baseball Academy, the AWP / the Diamond Baseball facility, Strikezone, and the Plex South, are a few. These facilities are excellent venues that become, nearly, full infields and outfields making effective practice and instruction, possible, during the winter.