Baseball really can be played almost anywhere.
On Tuesday evening, the Mid Island Pirates held their first-ever training session at their new practice facility inside a recycling depot in south Nanaimo.
The baseball club has built a functional space inside what was an unused storage room in the industrial building, Regional Recycling on Old Victoria Road.
“We stumbled on it late last year with one of the parents of one of our [players]…” said Doug Rogers, Pirates manager. “When he told me, ‘hey, we have turf for it, too,’ then all of a sudden things started clicking.”
The turf was the surface that used to be at Merle Logan Field before being replaced there. The room at the recycling depot was dirty, but all the effort in scrubbing was well worth it for the Pirates.
“We had to clean the whole thing out and paint it out and do what you see now, with the cages and all that,” Rogers said. “And now we have something that’s going to benefit kids for however long they want it.”
The Pirates can take batting practice in the two net cages, throw bullpens, and even work on baserunning and fielding ground balls.
Rogers said the B.C. Premier Baseball League’s top contending ball clubs have indoor practice facilities and he said the results have been proven on the diamond.
“It’s not just this that’s going to get you over the hump, but it definitely helps,” he said.
Players gave the new facility positive reviews. Connor Caskenette, Pirates catcher, said now guys will still be able to get their swings in if a practice gets rained out.
“Our coach told us that we can come here on our off-days and we can even get work in then,” Caskenette said. “So I hope that a lot of the guys take advantage of it and I think we will.”
Dylan Brock, Pirates pitcher, said there’s a lot the Pirates can work on in their new space.
“It’s a big game, but a lot of little things go into it,” he said.
Brock pointed out that the Pirates will have more chances to work on the mental side of the game and will also have more chances to practise together and build a sense of team, and the extra hitting, pitching and fielding will be beneficial.
“Our little skills are going to keep getting better, our mechanics are going to get more refined, so come spring, instead of being behind this year, we’re going to be ahead of everyone,” he said.