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Youth academy announced in Hialeah

Officials ranging from politicians, MLB and the Marlins all praised the possibility of the building of a youth academy.

Proclaiming it to be a “great day” for his city and Miami-Dade County, Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina and others gushed about the importance of the baseball academy that will be open to young men and women throughout South Florida to play baseball and softball. Construction of the academy, which is being modeled after MLB’s first academy in the country in Compton, Calif., is expected to begin in 2010 and take about two years to complete. Hialeah is providing the land and MLB is contributing about $3.2 million to the project.

After everyone joined hands and sang Kumbaya, it turns out there is a rub.

The academy won’t happen, officials say, unless the ballpark is built on the site of the former Orange Bowl. The Hialeah academy was the result of the city's offer to provide the land for a ballpark during negotiations in 2006.

My guess is that this announcement is to get the fence sitters onboard for a new stadium for the Marlins.  In other words: Look free money for development.

My opinion is that even if the Marlins stadium somehow fails the academy should still be built.  The weather is nice, most of the time, and the community would supportive of it.

I really hope the academy isn't strictly tied to the stadium, in practice, because Florida offers a wealth of baseball and softball talent that should be nurtured.