The Majestic Park five-field astroturfed baseball complex located at the sight of the old Boys and Girls Club, 109 W Belding St., is complete and looking at a spring and summer full of camps, tournaments and the return of youth league.
It all starts Jan. 22 with a free pitching camp by San Diego Padres Pitcher Kevin Kopps.
"This is the kind of events we're doing," Park Manager Derek Phillips told Hot Springs National Park Rotary Club on Wednesday. "We want this to be the premier place for baseball in Arkansas, and we've built the facility to do it. It's gorgeous."
Phillips told rotary the park, which broke ground late August 2020, was "pretty near completion" around early August 2021. Now, looking at a robust tournament schedule from February-July, the first tournament will be held in honor of late baseball historian and leader in the creation of Majestic Park, Mike Dugan, who died Feb. 4, 2021.
"We wanted to do a tournament to honor Mike and all he's done in the past and to help get this park started," Phillips said. "... We've named our first tournament the Dugan Invitational. We've got nine college teams coming, February 3rd, 4th and 6th."
The schedule for the Dugan Invitational can be found here.
The schedule for the tournaments following the Dugan Invitational can be found here.
"If you want to volunteer and watch a lot of baseball, this will be the place to be," Phillips said.
For volunteer opportunities, email email@example.com.
Phillips said the spring and summer schedule* was filled so quickly because "people want to come here."
"We built an amazing park, people want to play at it, go do some fun stuff with all the fun things to do here, and so it's a really good match," he said. "I've said this many times in my days in the past, that Hot Springs should be the place you have a premiere tournament facility, because people, they come to play for two or three or four days, but they want to do other things.
"These college teams that are coming, they're going to want to go to the track and do Mid America and all these places, and do fun things downtown, and there's a lot of cool stuff for them to do. It's a really good place in Arkansas; it's one of the best places. We have a variety of places to stay and fun things to see and the lakes, there's just so much to do."
In addition to the park bringing numerous tournaments, it's also bringing back a local youth baseball league for ages 5-15. Registration opens Jan. 10, and league play will run March 28-May 26 on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Pricing is as follows:
• 5 and 6 Tee Ball Cal Ripken — $75
• 7 and 8 Coach Pitch Cal Ripken — $85
• 9 and 10 Cal Ripken — $95
• 11 and 12 Cal Ripken — $95
• 13 through 15 Babe Ruth League — $95
To register for the youth league, click here.
For those who need financial assistance, a scholarship fund is available. To apply, click here.
"Baseball's an expensive sport," Phillips said. "Not just to sign up, but the equipment. ... You need gloves and helmets and bats and so many other things, so one of the things I did when I got here was I started a 501(c)(3) Majestic Park Scholarship Fund, and we had a little bit of money that we sat aside in there.
"... And then, sadly in February Mike Dugan passed away and his family, I just love that family, they asked anything that anybody wanted to give, whether it be flowers or food or anything, write a check to that scholarship fund. And you guys all know Mike would have loved to do that. ... There's been a lot of support for that (scholarship fund)."
The history of Majestic Park
Just like Dugan pushed for, Majestic Park will heavily highlight the history of baseball on its very grounds.
According to a presentation Phillips gave to rotary, a glimpse of this history is as follows:
• 1908-1918: The site hosted spring training games for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals.
• 1947: Jaycee Park was built on the site The Hot Springs Boys Club was founded.
• 1952: Negro League World Series game where the Indianapolis Clowns faced the Birmingham Black Barons.
• 2017: The Hot Springs Boys & Girls Club forced to close due to lack of funding
• 2020: Ground-breaking for Majestic Park.
• 2022: Youth league launched and the first-ever Dugan Invitational is held.
*The fall schedule has not yet opened.