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‘Become an exclusive sport:’ Bragan Baseball Complex opens in Jacksonville to bring the sport to all

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A $7 million project, nearly three years in the works, now promises to increase accessibility to sports for kids across Jacksonville.

That’s the mission of the brand new Bragan Baseball Complex on Jacksonville’s Southside, which opened Friday morning.

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“Unfortunately, baseball has become a suburban sport, it’s become an exclusive sport,” said Frank Frangie, founder of Walk Off Charities at Friday’s ribbon cutting. “When I was growing up in the ‘70s, 27 percent of major league baseball players were African American, Black men born in America. That number is now six percent.”

The two new fields hope to address that, made possible in part by a $6.5 million donation from the city, and around $500,000 from Walk Off Charities.

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“That’s what this is all about, making sure that we are creating a place where everyone that wants to can get involved in team sports and baseball,” Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan said.

Deegan said the goal is to also be teaching children invaluable life lessons and skills through sports in the process, something the mayor knows about firsthand, with her son having played baseball himself growing up.

“It taught him a lot about teamwork, it taught him a lot about putting others before himself,” Deegan said. “And I think it does that for all children if we can make sure everybody has the opportunity to take part.”

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