Before the holidays, baseball and softball players will have a new place to train and practice their skills.
Scott Goodman, a local entrepreneur with a passion for baseball, will open an all-encompassing softball and baseball training facility and retail store this fall in Winter Garden.
Extra Innings, a franchise which was first established in 1996 with headquarters in Massachusetts, serves baseball and softball players of all ages and skill levels. The businesses provide a space for athletes to work out and train with multiple batting stations, professional coaching and other amenities, including a retail shop.
While Goodman is still in the negotiation process for an official location, he hopes to have one nailed down in the coming weeks. This location will be the first in the greater Orlando area.
“The goal is to be at or around a 15,000-square-foot facility where we can fill the retail void that was left by Sports Authority when they left a few years back,” Goodman said.
One of the major features of the facilities, Goodman said, will be the three state-of-the-art ProBatter pitching machines, which are very different from the “old-school” machines where two wheels shoot the ball at the batter.
“We’re going to have two baseball (machines) and one softball (machine) where it’s a video screen where you put your helmet on, you go in the cage, and let’s say you’re wanting to hit off the softball machine,” he said. “It’ll be a woman on the softball machine and she’ll actually pitch to you and the ball will come out of the arm slot on the video screen.
“It’s very real-life. You have the ability to program the machine to throw whatever types of pitches or whatever types of velocities you’re looking for,” Goodman said.
Goodman said he’s already been approached by a couple of teams who hope to use the space regularly.
“We’ll have space available to rent to local teams and leagues and try to fill that void right now, because there’s a lot of independent and local start-up baseball and softball organizations and they’re looking for space that they can practice (in),” Goodman said.
Extra Innings also will offer a membership program where members will get discounts on retail and coaching sessions and a certain amount of time in the cages each month. The batting cages also will be for rent to individuals for specific times without a membership.
This is not Goodman’s first step into local sports or business. His background is in retail, but he’s also the former owner of i9 Sports — a youth sports league for students in the area. He said Extra Innings is a great way for him to combine his passion for sports and his background in retail and business.
“i9 was great, and I met a lot of great people, but I wanted to do something that excited me a little more than that, so that’s what caused me to sell and then look into this,” Goodman said.
Goodman said he’s especially excited to provide a place for softball players to train, after being told there were local athletes in the area who travel to Altamonte Springs early in the morning to train. His goal is to be able to staff and provide a safe and comfortable training experience for softball players.
“To be able to have both baseball and softball instructors on staff is going to be, I think, really critical to our success,” Goodman said.
Long-term, Goodman has big plans for Extra Innings. He hopes to hold camps on weekends and over summer for baseball and softball players. He even plans to create a space where students who use online schooling programs like Florida Virtual School can do their work and then work on their baseball or softball skills.
“We’re looking to fill quite a few different roles in the community,” Goodman said.
To follow the progress of Extra Innings, find it on Facebook at facebook.com/ExtraInnings441.