Lars Jacoby (Dec. 2007). Swings in cages let all have a ball
Home Run Stadium brings families together
In its 20th year of business, the batting cage now known as the Home Run Stadium in Mesa has been the place in the Southeast Valley to perfect their swing for generations of baseball lovers.
The facility has undergone few changes other than owners and names since it opened in the mid-1980s.
Owner Tom Rothchild said the facility began as Danny’s Dugout, was sold and became the Robo Pitch Stadium, complete with human-looking pitching machines.
After Rothchild bought the business eight years ago, which he says is the largest in Arizona with 14 softball and baseball cages, he transitioned from the high-maintenance robot pitchers to traditional pitching machines, and changed the name.
Despite the superficial changes, Rothchild says the one thing that has remained consistent throughout the years is the customers he sees week in and week out.
“I have people that come in all the time with their kids, and they tell me their dad used to bring them in when they were a kid,” Rothchild said, or, “I’ve had a grandfather come in with his grandkids and tell me he used to bring his son, their father, in here.”
That family tradition and atmosphere is what continues to bring in customers today, like Clinton Jarrett, 31, of Mesa, who brings his son and daughter to the cage.
“It’s probably the homey atmosphere, and there’s a lot of kids that go there,” said Jarrett, who said his dad took him to the cage when he was in Little League.
That family appeal is what also brings Mark Moran of Mesa and his son Spencer, 9, who have been “regulars” about three years.
“We’re in once or twice a week,” Moran said. It’s a really clean environment, friendly environment, and Tom makes it fun.”
Moran said he’s so comfortable spending time at the batting cage with his son that he sometimes brings his wife and 3-year-old daughter, who will “just play in the grass” while her big brother hits balls.
2016 UPDATE : Spencer Moran has gone on to play professional baseball, pitching in the Tampa Bay rays organization. He’s offering to give some professional pitching instruction for those interested. For more information, click here (4Mb) – (Adobe Reader or another .pdf reader required).