VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - This weekend, a premier baseball and softball training facility will be a place you can swing...and study.
D-BAT, located at 5258A Fairfield Shopping Center in Virginia Beach, is hosting an exhibit to honor and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues.
The free, interactive exhibit will be open Friday October 23 to Monday October 26.
The hours are: Noon to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and Noon to 7 p.m. Monday.
"Our goal here at D-BAT is to help develop youth to achieve their goals and become difference makers on and off the field," said D-BAT Virginia Beach owner and general manager Craig Colucci. "This is an important part of sharing that history, so they can understand they're part of a larger picture."
The exhibit is possible thanks to the efforts of Negro Leagues Baseball historian Derrick Jones.
"This gives me an opportunity to teach them to learn about a sport I think is the best game the Lord put on earth," Jones said. "It's an opportunity to teach children to learn. Learn to read and read to learn. Kids here at D-BAT are dreaming like Major League Baseball players dream. The players from the Negro Leagues were young men that dreamed, but never received the opportunity to play in the Majors. D-BAT celebrating the 100th anniversary allows children and our community to learn about our history in a fun-filled manner."
Norfolk native Sam Allen, a living legend of the Negro Leagues from his time playing for the Kansas City Monarchs, Raleigh Tigers and Memphis Red Sox, explains why it's important for future generations to understand this prominent period in baseball history.
"The youngsters need to know what we went through to make this happen," Allen noted. "We struggled for this. But now, I'm enjoying it."
More details on the exhibit can be found at D-BAT Virginia Beach's website or by calling 757-467-1111.