The 2021 Rays Showcase began this week with 60 athletes taking part in the high performance event. This elite Baseball WA program is fully endorsed and supported by the Tampa Bay Rays and serves as a replacement to the cancelled 2021 Australian Youth Championship.
The two-week showcase runs through next Friday, 15 January as players enjoy a spring training environment based on professional leagues with extensive exposure to opportunities designed to increase their knowledge and skills.
Athletes have the chance to experience day-to-day life in an elite program with dedicated training and team resources. This includes the introduction of Spanish lessons for all players to assist with the possibility of playing in Spanish-speaking countries or with teammates who speak the language.
Players will take the field for games on 13-15 January. Those games will be livestreamed for scouting purposes since the scouts cannot be at Empire Ballpark in person. The streams will be available on ABLTV here.
The event is backed by several partners in the local community, including the Greg Jelks Baseball Development Fund, which made a $5,000 donation to support further programming to prepare WA’s U16 and U18 baseballers for a bright future. The Australian Institute of Fitness (AIF) provided two massage teams and an education scholarship, while Diamond Fitness is another proud supporter delivering strength and conditioning education.
“Diamond Fitness jumped at the chance to be involved with this program,” said Dean White, Showcase Coordinator and Diamond Fitness Owner. “It’s something totally different that we hope will make a difference in the players’ lives both on and off the field."
Players have more to look forward to in the coming days as Jason Ryan from South Street Physio will speak to players about biomechanics and arm care. The showcase will also bring back past WA baseball greats to mentor players and coaches.
“We saw this as a great opportunity to run an advanced spring training style program for our elite U16 and U18 players,” Baseball WA CEO Lachlan Dale said. “20 of our best coaches are investing not only baseball skills but life skills into the players as they facilitate the most advanced showcase program in the country and we are really excited with how the program has gone so far. ”