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Baseball Legends return to Yuma Thursday
Santa Claus is coming to Yuma and in his big bag of goodies is a bundle of exciting Major League Baseball (MLB) hopefuls. The Baseball Legends (TBL) returns to Yuma for the third straight year as they are hosting the 2012 Cecil Fielder Elite World Series.
“Yuma is great place to play baseball and this year there will be an international powerhouse lineup, a total of 20 teams from Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, and Mexico, including four teams from Yuma, all vying to be the next Elite World Series Champs,” says former MLB star Cecil Fielder. Fielder believes the word is out about the TBL and how their organization is providing opportunities for young high school baseball prospects to play at the highest level of competition, in great ballparks and in front of college and MLB scouts, all in pursuit of one day making their dreams come true.
The dream of making it to the major leagues is something that Fielder can relate to. Growing up in East Los Angeles, Fielder played lots of baseball with hopes of one day playing in the big leagues. Being an outstanding baseball player at Nogales High School in La Puente, Calif., Fielder caught the eye of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) baseball coach, Fred Gallemore. Fielder played just one year at UNLV before he was drafted in the 4th round of the 1982 MLB draft by the Kansas City Royals.
“Being drafted was a dream come true!” Fielder says. “What kid doesn't dream of making it to the big leagues?”
Fielder went on to have an amazing MLB career, playing with six teams over 16 years. Fielder's best years were spent with the Detroit Tigers during the early 1990s. Fielder was known as a clutch hitter with amazing power. In 1990, Fielder hit 51 home runs, the first MLB player in over 25 years to have a 50 home run season.
What young baseball player doesn't dream of one day playing on ESPN? This year the TBL will make that dream come true. On Dec. 31, the TBL is set to bring in the New Year with a bang. ESPN will be in Yuma to televise live the 9 a.m. and noon semi-final games as well as the 3 p.m. championship game, which will all be played at Desert Sun Stadium.
“We only want the best for all the teams and host city, Yuma,” Fielder says. “This deal with ESPN is just another example of why the TBL is the elite youth baseball organization.
“I would like to invite everyone in Yuma to come out and support their own local teams and this huge event,” Fielder says.
The TBL has also waived the admission fee for all games that will be played on Dec. 31.
“It is a free day of baseball. I am looking forward to meeting all the local Yuma sports fans, every U.S. Marine and Army military members and their families stationed in Yuma, as well as everyone who may be visiting Yuma for the winter,” Fielder says. “This is a great opportunity to see the stars of tomorrow, play today.”
The 2012 Cecil Fielder World Series starts Thursday and runs through Jan. 6. The World Series will be held at Desert Sun Stadium, the Ray Kroc Baseball Complex and the Elena Orendain-Curtis Sports Complex at Yuma Catholic High School. Games start at 8 a.m each day. For more information and the tournament schedule, go to www.thebaseballlegends.com.
Oscar Chavez is the recreation program supervisor at Yuma Parks and Rec. He can be reached at Oscar.Chavez@yumaaz.gov.