BRANDON — As pitchers and catchers report to spring training this week and teams prepare for full workouts, Dave LaPoint is not in a baseball camp for the first time in 37 years.
Ditto for Damian Rolls after the past 16 seasons.
LaPoint enjoyed a 12-year Major League Baseball career as a left-handed pitcher for nine teams and won a World Series ring with the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals.
Rolls played outfield, third base and second base for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2000-2004 and enjoyed a two-home-run, four-RBI game off Roger Clemens in 2003.
The duo has been together since 2006, most recently with the upstart Rockland (N.Y.) Boulders last year with LaPoint as manager and Rolls as hitting coach. And the two local residents will begin this year on a new field as managers of Fundy's Sports Academy, located at 9854 Currie Davis Drive behind Brandon Volkswagen.
Fundy's, a trigger word in the world of baseball meaning fundamentals, aims to teach the sport to younger athletes, but all ages are welcome.
"We watch the baseball youth and it's missing," Rolls said of fundamentals. "It's sink or swim.
"There's no more teaching athletic position or balance."
LaPoint said baseball players today are so concerned with hitting — specifically hitting for power — that they are losing sight of the other tools they need for success, such as proper defense, the art of pitching and reading in mid delivery.
"We can teach Little League kids who are playing for the first time, or if the Rays come in, we can help them too," said LaPoint. "There isn't anything we haven't seen that we can't teach. We did something right along the way."
Fundy's offers pitching instruction from three distances and batting cages with pitching machines or live pitching.
And don't mind the football lines on the turf: It came from a college in Texas and is suitable for fielding drills and birthday parties featuring kickball, dodgeball, soccer, hockey, football and just about any other sport.
"We can't be one-dimensional," LaPoint said.
Fundy's, which held its first lesson Jan. 19, will stage an open house Feb. 22 and 23 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The official grand opening remains in the planning stages. LaPoint said former major leaguers will be on hand for the celebration.
Rental prices include $12.50 for 30 minutes in the cage or on the mound ($22.50 with the pitching machine) and $50 per half hour for private lessons with a Major League instructor.
For more information, go to fundysports.com.
Consignment shop comes to Winthrop
Kristie Horton and Sarah Conlon knew they wanted to open a consignment shop together, but the Apollo Beach residents just didn't know where they wanted to locate their first business.
So the friends traveled to various retail complexes throughout East Hillsborough County and sat in the parking lots at various times of the day counting people.
Call it a business stakeout.
After scouting the Winthrop Town Centre in Riverview and seeing the traffic patterns, they decided to open up shop at the corner of Bloomingdale and Providence, naming it KriSara Designer Consigner.
"We fell in love with the plaza," said Conlon, who like Horton was a stay-at-home mom prior to this foray. "There's not a lot of retail there, but there's a lot of people and we need visibility."
KriSara is for women ages 30 to 60 who want to enjoy high-end clothing, handbags, jewelry and other accessories without the high price tags.
Women who want the comforts found at places such as Nordstrom, Dillard's and Bloomingdale's will find brands like Ann Taylor, Caché and Ralph Lauren.
"There is no stigma attached to it like there used to be," Conlon said. "You pay a fraction of the price and it's very trendy."
For example, Conlon points out that KriSara will feature jeans ranging from $19 Calvin Klein and DKNY to $59 True Religion.
No appointment is necessary to consign your "like new" fashions that are currently trendy, but you will have to do it Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. KriSara will split the revenue 50/50.
KriSara opened for business Monday. For more information, please call KriSara at (813) 324-8911.
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