On January 27, 2012, ground was broken by Natalie Neita-Headley, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for sports, for the construction of an international standard baseball diamond at the G.C. Foster College in St Catherine.
The diamond, which it is hoped will spur the growth and development of the sport in the country, is being funded by the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) to the tune of $800,000.
Construction fee waiver
This is $1,035,000 less than it would have originally cost, thanks to a waiver of the fee of construction by United States engineer, Damon van Brocklin, via his firm, Brocklin Homes Inc.
The local leg of the project will be done by local engineer firm Grape Vine Enterprises Limited.
"Today's groundbreaking ceremony is significant as we are not just talking about the investment in the development of another new sport," said Neita-Headley. "We are also expanding the possibilities that sport can offer to the country as an income earner.
"Baseball is the most popular sport in the United States, with star player Alex Rodriquez of the New York Yankees earning an annual salary of US$32,000,000, to be the richest player in the league."
To be completed by Thursday
The diamond, which upon completion is expected to have a length of 380 metres at its ditch - 60 metres more than the minimum requirement - is slated for completion by next week Thursday.
It will then be used by student-athletes and officials of GC Foster in the curriculum as part their degree, associate degree and certificate courses.
It is then hoped that several persons will emerge from their courses with the passion and ability to teach and play the sport at a professional level, thus enabling the sport to catch the imagination of Jamaicans.
"By having a diamond, it means that our students can become trained in the sport, which will lead to a building of the capacity for the growth of the sport," said GC Foster principal, Edward Shakes.
Also attending the ceremony was director of baseball at the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS), Donovan Corcho.
"INSPORTS is looking at initially having baseball diamonds in our three counties, and today is the first of such initiatives," said Corcho. "This forms part of our overall plans for the development of the sport, which includes the establishment of primary school leagues after the Easter holidays."