submitted by Larry Larrabee; photo by Mike Engelberger
Greg Reinhard provided us with an entertaining and informative presentation on the current status and future prospects of baseball in Wisconsin and the Midwest. He is a former professional player who played for the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs. He now owns, with a business partner, the GRB Academy in Windsor. The baseball academy develops players who seek to play at the collegiate and professional level.
Greg described how in the past, Wisconsin was more or less a backwater for baseball players in the college and professional ranks due to several factors such as climate, limited number of coaches who could develop skills, and the larger emphasis on football due to the Badgers and the Packers. Greg, who grew up in Marinette, obviously overcame these issues but now is devoted to making a difference for youth today. He pointed out that nationally there has been a 9% decrease in youths’ participation in all sports between 2009 and 2014. He feels many factors contribute to this among which are declining community and school spending, distraction of technology and changing interests.
However, over the past several years, colleges and professional sports have shown increased interest in Wisconsin’s baseball players. GRB Academy, in its short history, has worked with 191 players now on collegiate teams and 2 that were drafted out of high school into the pros. Greg and his business partner stress that when they begin to work with a participant, they ask him and his parents, “You’re good enough to play post-high school, do you plan for a collegiate career or a pro career?” They then work with the player toward that goal.
The presentation reflected Greg’s refreshing, balanced approach to youth and sports in their lives.