By Rich Mancuso/Sports Editor
Envision a goal and the dream and most of all it all coming together. Tony and Jessy Melendez had the aspirations of providing a basic foundation for youth in the proper structure to advance their skills in the game we call baseball. It happens every once in awhile and the task is not easy because ten-years is indeed a milestone for a business venture that has been successful.
You see, baseball is one of those complicated games that gears to discipline and of course the fundamentals. You teach with the proper structure, so they say, and they will come and that continues to be the formula as TM Baseball Academy, situated in what once was a warehouse continues to be baseball heaven for children and adults.
And now, ten years later, TM is still making an impact and providing that foundation for youth and teenagers, boys and girls, and now adults with fitness and MMA training. So, you this is not just about baseball.
However, focus on this ten year venture that continues to be a center of attention and fulfills the emphasis of teaching, learning, and development with the game we all love, the American pastime called baseball. At TM, the past decade it has been a structure of continuing that goal and dream.
On a daily basis, and more than once, Jessy known as “The Boss Lady” is behind the desk and directing the operations. Tony, her beloved husband with a baseball and fitness genre to his resume, does not sit idle. One-by-one they come and they seek mentor ship and advice about the proper approach.
“How do you succeed in this game,” they ask Tony. It’s an honest answer. “A competitive game and it’s lots of dedication with some luck,” he tells the young people that walk through through the doors on Seabury Avenue, in a commercial area not known for sports and athletics where the home of TM Baseball has been a haven for more than one aspiring ballplayer.
Over the last ten years there has been that progression. Summer months and holiday season there are the TM alumni, many who have been instrumental in this process that visit and say hello. But they extend their stay and return to give back as they assist Tony and Jessy with instruction and hope they will be the leaders of tomorrow on the ballfield or in the business world.
Yes, it has become a family and there is no telling who will walk through the door as the names are by far too many to mention. But they come and visit, and are not asked to give back.
Tony and Jessy welcome them in arms, and they are family as they have witnessed first hand their progression from kids to responsible adults. From high school to college, and if not on the ball field, then in the business world, and if were not for the support of the parents who become leaders the mission would be that more difficult to accomplish.
But they insist, as they do often return and offer their time to give back.
Yes, ten years of seeing this development for a self funded business that gets minimal financial support from grants and contributions in the community. And with the exception of various fundraisers there is no other way to get the youngsters, many of the TM travel teams, to play ball over the Summer months which include trips to Florida, upstate New York and other areas of the northeast where the competition helps with fundamentals and development.
So ten years, and one is posed to ask what else is there to accomplish? Well much more is on the agenda. In the last year, TM has aligned with Ray Negron a long time and known executive of the New York Yankees. This Summer, Negron has adopted TM and extended an invitation for a team of 16- year old’s and under to participate in his venture known as “Hank’s Yanks” in collaboration with Hank Steinbrenner the older son of the late Yankees owner.
Various scouts from Major League Baseball teams have visited the facility the past year and offered their knowledge to TM members and share the constructive advice. The highlight was a visit this past December from Dominic Giordano, better known as “T-Bone” a 92-year old veteran with over 60 years in the game of baseball and assistant to Atlanta Braves GM John Hart.
And Doc Gooden, the Cy Young award pitcher who represents New York and the kids has conducted clinics and his insights on the game were compelling about his playing days in New York with the Mets and Yankees.
There is more, including the new fitness class that is open to all at TM, nightly sessions from the master Tony Melendez who wrote the book on conditioning and training. A dream that was envisioned continues to expand with MMA classes as the popularity of that sport continues to grow and now with TM Baseball Academy a part of the plan when it comes to training and aspiring MMA competitors.
So, a decade of excellence does continue. And the mission is simple to continue a goal that was envisioned. What awaits is the expansion of TM and that is the the planning stages with a facility in the greater Orlando Florida area.
TM has come a long way these past ten years. And there’s more to come!
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