Extra Innings Slides Into Ft. Myers

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Baseball and softball training facility coming to southwest Florida in March.

Extra Innings will open in Ft. Myers in spring 2013.

Extra Innings, the nation’s premier baseball and softball training facility franchise, is coming to Ft. Myers. The new training center, scheduled to open in March 2013, will be located at 12100 Commerce Lakes Dr. The 14,000 square foot, air conditioned facility is situated behind JetBlue Park, spring training home of the Boston Red Sox. Extra Innings will offer individual and team instruction, batting cage rentals, and a fully stocked Pro Shop of quality equipment and apparel to fulfill the needs of players of all ages and skill levels. The new training center is owned by Naples resident Rick Raymer.

For Raymer, baseball is a family bond. The son of a former star pitcher in the Cleveland Indians organization, Raymer pitched collegiately at Florida Southern College, playing on an NCAA National Championship team and serving as team captain during his 4 year career. His father-in-law was a high draft pick in the Oakland A’s organization before injury sidetracked his pitching career. Raymer’s uncle was also a star pitcher who was drafted by the Kansas City Royals out of high school.

“Baseball was bred into me,” Raymer said. “Not many conversations occur in our family where baseball isn’t mentioned in one form or another.”

After his playing days were over, Raymer pursued a career in teaching and coaching. He has been the pitching coach at Barron Collier High School in Naples for the past 12 seasons in addition to being a physical education teacher at Pelican Marsh Elementary.

“I wanted to remain in the game, and help kids become better student-athletes,” Raymer said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to help kids attain their dreams, either by being drafted, playing collegiately, or just having a successful high school career.”

Raymer hit a crossroads after earning his master’s degree in educational administration from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2006. “I had a choice to either go into administration or pursue my dreams of remaining in baseball on a larger level.”

After two years of research and nearly two years of patiently waiting for the right location, Extra Innings Ft. Myers is now becoming a reality.

“Extra Innings allows me to combine my ability to teach and coach with my passion for baseball,” Raymer says. “I want to be able to pass on my experience and knowledge to a new generation of players, and through Extra Innings I will be able to do that.”

Raymer says he is confident that Southwest Florida’s strong baseball culture, both at the amateur and professional levels, will contribute to his facility’s marketability, as will his extensive background in education.

“I’m a teacher – I know how to relate to kids of all ages, so parents can feel comfortable knowing their kids are going to learn and have fun at the same time,” he said.

Raymer is currently in the process of hiring staff and is working on the build-out process of the facility in advance of the March grand opening. This is the company's third location in Florida, and the company expects to open 5 more Extra Innings franchises statewide in 2013. Target areas include the northwest, east, and central parts of the state.

“This area is a hotbed for baseball and softball. Although we haven’t even opened yet, I’m already seeing a very positive response from the community,” he added.

Established in 1996, Extra Innings provides state-of-the-art baseball practice facilities, professional instruction,batting cages, and a Pro Shop to fulfill the needs of players of all ages and ability levels. Extra Innings has nearly 40 locations in 17 states. Extra Innings also recently released the Extra Innings Mobile Instructor App for iPhone and iPad, which allows players to have their skills analyzed by a professional instructor. Projections call for close to 60 locations to be in operation by the end of 2013. For more information, visit http://www.extrainnings.us.

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