Baseball facility slated to open





by BRIAN NADIG

A baseball and softball training facility is opening inside an industrial building at the southwest corner of Northwest Highway and Bryn Mawr Avenue.

The facility is the new home for Windy City Baseball, which has 13 baseball and three softball traveling teams. It also will offer batting cages for public use and a variety of youth camps and training programs for individuals.

"It will be like a gym (membership), but instead of going to Pilates class, you’ll be going to a pitching class," said Windy City Baseball president Bobby Stevens Jr. The complex has an artificial turf to allow for catching, throwing and other drills, and weight equipment is available.

The entrance to the training facility is located on the north end of the building along Bryn Mawr. Windy City shares the 6,200-square-foot building, whose address is 5596 N. Northwest Highway, with Nemeth Glass.

Stevens said that Windy City serves "as kind of a feeder program" for Guerin Prep High School in River Grove, where he graduated from in 2005 as part of the first coed graduating class at the school.

Stevens’ first 3 years of high school were at the former all-boys Holy Cross High School in River Grove, which closed in 2004. After high school he went on to play baseball at Northern Illinois University and for 8 years of professional baseball with several minor league clubs.

Stevens said that when he was not playing baseball in the winter, he would assist Windy City’s players with their training and that after he retired from professional baseball, he concentrated on expanding Windy City to include high school traveling teams.

The Zoning Board of Appeals will hear a request to grant a special use to allow a sports and recreation facility with batting cages at the Northwest Highway site at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at City Hall. Windy City has used several different places in the Chicago area for its indoor training since 2005.

"We’re very happy that the owner sees a future for his business in Gladstone Park and the 45th Ward," said a spokesman for Alderman John Arena (45th).

Plans call for the facility to open to the public by the end of the year.