LINCOLN – The association of Ken Ryan’s name and this particular dateline can only signify that KR Baseball Academy is officially coming to town.
Everything became certified this past Friday when Ryan signed a lease to occupy space for his indoor baseball facility on 100 Higginson Ave. located in the Lonsdale section of town. A Pawtucket native who pitched for both the PawSox and Red Sox, Ryan hopes to open the doors either the first or second week in October.
As for immediate attention, Ryan mentioned that he must obtain permits from Lincoln and work with town administrators to put out bids for construction, i.e. installing walls and office space. As it presently stands, KR Baseball Academy is joining a budding sports and entertainment plaza that already features an indoor rock climbing venue and soon a Formula One race track that would be situated right next to his baseball school.
“There’s a lot of work that has to go on, but I’m probably looking at the middle of September when I go in and start hanging nets and bringing the machines in,” Ryan said.
Once everything is up and operational at the new location, Ryan plans to hold an open house on a Saturday in either late October or early November.
“We did something like this last year when we gave out free tokens so that people could hit in the cages,” Ryan said.
Previously, KR Baseball Academy had been based in Pawtucket on 413 Central Ave. Due to complex-related restrictions that in turn were making his business life increasingly difficult, Ryan made the decision to relocate following his decade-long business stay in the city. Officially, Ryan closed the doors in Pawtucket in early June.
“The city really tried to keep me there,” Ryan said.
Ryan qualifies as a busy beaver these days. Besides going about the process of getting his new Lincoln digs up and running, the author of eight big-league seasons with Boston and Philadelphia is joining NESN’s coverage of the New England Little League Regional Tournament.
As a warmup Ryan spent Sunday afternoon in Maine, serving as an analyst for NESN’s airing of Double-A Portland’s contest. He was scheduled to drive to Bristol Conn. immediately following the game at Hadlock Field. That’s because on Monday, he’s slated to hold a meet-and-greet with all the New England Little League teams.
This marks Ryan’s fifth year calling the New Englands for NESN. He will be joined in the booth by Jack Edwards, the network’s play-by-play announcer for the Boston Bruins. On the field and in the stands will be Jamie Erdahl, NESN’s sideline reporter for the Bruins and Red Sox.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to do some Pawtucket games in the past and this year I’ve done eight or nine Cape Cod League games for Fox. It’s very entertaining, but it’s not even close to the excitement and the atmosphere of the Little League regionals,” Ryan said. “With the kids and the parents … it’s not about fame or glory. It’s about winning and representing your town and state and trying to get to the biggest prize of all, which is the Little League World Series.”
Regarding the opportunity to once again work with the energetic Edwards, Ryan said, “He’s a lot of fun to be with. He gets into it.”
Ryan says he’s also looking forward to calling the action for a quicker brand of baseball.
“You watch a Major League Baseball game and there’s maybe 30 seconds between pitches. There’s 10 seconds between pitches (with the Little Leaguers),” Ryan pointed out. “That’s the way baseball should be … get the ball and throw. In the majors, the pitcher steps off the mound and plays with the rosin bag while the hitter steps out of the box and takes a couple swings.
“As long as it took me to describe that, (the Little Leaguers) have thrown a pitch,” Ryan continued.
NESN will broadcast the final two days of pool play on Tuesday and Wednesday and the New England semifinals on Thursday. Cumberland American will have their Tuesday and Wednesday games aired live.
Ryan is familiar with the CALL players as many of Dave Belisle’s charges also play AAU baseball. Ryan fields AAU teams for four age groups.
“We played them and they crushed us and that was on a bigger diamond,” Ryan said. “I think they’re going to do well.”
Speaking of Ryan’s AAU program, he will stage tryouts the weekend of August 23-24 in Slater Park. For more information, visit www.krbaseball.com.
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