Make us your home page

Hitting Academy puts kids in MLB stadiums

The Hitting Academy in Clearwater was the first to open in 2007. A third location is slated to open in Brandon in June and will allow youth baseball players to "hit" in Major League Stadiums. Photo courtesy of the Hitting Academy.

The Hitting Academy in Clearwater was the first to open in 2007. A third location is slated to open in Brandon in June and will allow youth baseball players to "hit" in Major League Stadiums. Photo courtesy of the Hitting Academy.

BRANDON — Fenway Park's Green Monster is coming to Brandon.

So, too, is the ivy that helped make Wrigley Field famous.

Youth baseball players will soon be able to simulate hitting in many Major League Baseball stadiums as part of The Hitting Academy's offerings when it opens the doors of its third bay area indoor facility next month in Brandon.

The 14,100-square-foot facility featuring indoor turf is slated to open at 1239 Kingsway Road adjacent to the Dollar General store. Rob Ciaravino, a local baseball coach who estimates he has delivered more than 19,000 hitting lessons in the past 20 years, originally opened The Hitting Academy in his native Clearwater in 2007 and expanded into Tampa in 2014.

"This is the future," said Ciaravino, who played baseball at Seminole High School before graduating in 1985 and eventually becoming the head coach at Countryside High School from 1994-97. "Getting these kids stronger and figuring out what they want to do. This is definitely the new generation."

The Hitting Academy will feature four batting cages and three private lesson cages where high-speed cameras capture the batter's swing on 60-inch flat screens and compare it to major league player's swings.

The HitTrax batting cage offers a high-tech, digital experience of playing in a MLB stadium while tracking measurable swing statistics such as ball exit speed and distance.

Former Major Leaguer Danny Garcia, who played second base for the Mets, oversees the strength and conditioning programs.

The Hitting Academy also will host birthday parties (including kickball) and seven weeks of summer camp. It also welcomes fast-pitch softball players. The Hitting Academy will open daily at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. on weekends and 9 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For more information, call (813) 657-2255.

SHARE YOUR NEWS: If you have an item for Everybody's Business, contact Arielle Waldman at

Hitting Academy puts kids in MLB stadiums 05/04/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 5:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager …

    Whistle Stop Bar & Grill is one of the main stops on Main Street in Safety Harbor. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  2. Q&A: A business leader and historian jointly delve into Tampa's waterfront


    TAMPA — As a native of Tampa, Arthur Savage has always had a passion for his hometown's history. And as a third-generation owner and operator of A.R. Savage & Son, a Tampa-based shipping agency, his affinity for his hometown also extends to its local waterways.

    Arthur Savage (left) and Rodney Kite-Powell, co-authors of "Tampa Bay's Waterfront: Its History and Development," stand for a portrait with the bust of James McKay Sr. in downtown Tampa on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017. McKay, who passed away in 1876, was a prominent businessman, among other things, in the Tampa area. He was Arthur Savage's great great grandfather. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Tampa's connected-vehicle program looking for volunteers


    TAMPA — Drivers on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway can save on their monthly toll bill by volunteering to test new technology that will warn them about potential crashes and traffic jams.

    A rendering shows how new technology available through the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority will warn driver's about crashes, traffic jams, speed decreases and more. THEA is seeking 1,600 volunteers to install the devices, which will display alerts in their review mirrors, as part of an 18-month connected-vehicle pilot.
  4. What Florida's top Republicans are saying about Donald Trump

    State Roundup

    Republicans nationwide are blasting President Donald Trump for how he responded to Charlottesville.

    U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement on the violence this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia at the White House on August 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed in Charlottesville when a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. barreled into a crowd of counter-protesters following violence at the 'Unite the Right' rally. Two Virginia state police troopers were also killed when their helicopter crashed while covering events on the ground. [Getty Images]
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning, Amalie Arena to host job fair today


    TAMPA — The Tampa Bay Lightning and its home, Amalie Arena, are hosting a part-time job fair from 3 to 6 p.m. today on the Promenade Level of the arena. Available positions include platinum services, parking attendants, event security, housekeeping, retail and many other departments.

    The Tampa Bay Lightning and AMALIE Arena is hosting a part-time job fair on Thursday, Aug. 17 on the Promenade level of the arena.