The old ball game is returning to Alexandria


Baseball fans in Alexandria will be singing Take Me Out to The Ballgame next year when the Alexandria Aces Collegiate Summer Baseball team mans the diamond at Four Mile Run Park, becoming the eighth AA team in the Cal Ripken Sr. Collegiate Baseball League.

The Aces will be one step below minor league teams such as the Potomac Nationals who play in a stadium in Woodbridge. Pat Malone, team president and general manager, is looking at a sense of community for the new team. We want something everybody can be proud of, he said. Malone is presently involved with scouting, visiting colleges and university for potential players.

The team, consisting of approximately 30 players, will play 47 wooden bat games from now through Aug. 6. Only wooden bats are allowed so scouts can get a true measure of personal batting performance. Four Mile Run park will be their home field, but will travel to other area towns in the surrounding area to play the seven other teams in the league. Their uniforms will be midnight blue with pinstripes, reminiscent of traditional baseball uniforms. Presently, the team leaders are working on a logo but Malone said they are experimenting with designs using the George Washington Masonic Temple and the city hall spire. We wanted to have an iconic symbol of Alexandria, said Malone.

Field improvements
Any improvements to the park will be funded by the team, said Roger Blakeley, Alexandrias deputy director of park operations. This includes sandblasting and repainting the dugout, scoreboard improvements, and possibly re-sodding the field. Theyre paying us a fee, Blakeley said. In addition, the Aces are purchasing equipment for the Alexandria Little League. Youth baseball is the number one priority for us, added Blakeley. The grandstands can hold about 2,200 which Blakeley thinks is adequate. The grandstands are pretty big right now, he said.

Malone said one of their goals was to create a good partnership with the city to make that a great ballfield, he said. In the past, the Alexandria Dukes of the Carolina League played on that field from 19781983.

One of the goals in this league is to prepare amateur players for the next level on the ladder to the major league, said Malone. We wanted to get as many players drafted as possible, he added.

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