Summer baseball tournaments score a home run for Center economy
Center has seen an economic increase this summer, as baseball teams come for tournaments.
“Last week and this week, hotels in Center ran out of rooms for teams,” Recreation Director Jason Mitchell said earlier this month. “We try to keep as many teams in Center as possible, so they stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop locally, buy gas.”
There will be a total of 93 teams that have come to Center through July 18, he said.
“Since the city started these tournaments, July went from our worst month, where we were losing money, to us breaking even and maybe making money,” restaurant T&R’s Steak and More Grill and Buffet co-owner Rose Specter said.
“We have seen a five percent increase every year. We have quite a few baseball teams throughout the summer," she said. "It does remain steady throughout the day, though teams don’t tend to come in after 6 or 7 p.m.”
The World Series was held in Center last year and had a total of 105 teams come in.
“For teams to come to Center, we have to bid on the tournaments,” Mitchell said. “We always go on the 1st of January to the state meeting so we compete with everyone else in the state bidding on these tournaments. The number of teams coming is what we can afford to buy. There are a lot of factors.”
The 13-year-old category, Dixie Boys Jr. State Tournament and the 13-14-year-olds, Dixie Boys State Tournament will be on July 13-18.
“We are very gung-ho about these tournaments,” Specter said. “They do so much good for the community and we want to do whatever we can to continue them.”