For the last several years, former Seattle Mariners draftee Aaron Trolia has been traveling around with various instructors to put on clinics and training sessions for youth around the area. Now, after a long and arduous search, Trolia and his organization AT Baseball have a new place to call home. The group secured a 10,000-square-foot facility in October – featuring 20-foot high ceilings – to become its new Athletic Training Complex, where they will host all the organization’s instructional programs. The building, located at 815 S. 28th St. in Tacoma, is not set to open to the public until mid-January, but the organization’s already-existing programs are currently taking place there. “I had some phenomenal help from outside resources,” said Trolia, noting the help he received in acquiring netting and padded sport turf for the building. “A lot of great people have been helping getting it going.” With the acquisition of the new facility, Trolia’s vision to provide training and mentoring to more local youth is beginning to create new partnerships. On Dec. 26, former Seattle Mariner and five-time All-Star Mike Sweeney helped lead a small one-day clinic alongside Trolia and seven-year major-leaguer and long-time coach Jim Nettles, Sweeney’s father-in-law. “I wanted to use today as a foundation for my relationship with Aaron, kind of to set the tone for future events,” said Sweeney, who like Trolia is a devout Christian and runs Catholic baseball camps in his hometown San Diego. “This is just step one. I envision a year from now coming out and seeing hundreds of kids right here in the summer time playing baseball.”
Sweeney noted that his goal is to not only teaches kids baseball, but mentor them in the game of life – a philosophy that mirrors that of Trolia. “I believe baseball is more of a vehicle for getting these kids to understand what it takes to become a man when they get older,” Trolia said. “The constant failure baseball brings, and understanding the coping skills to rebound from that, I think will take these kids farther than the actual game of baseball will.” Along with an All-Star caliber cast of instructors – including Los Angeles Dodgers roving hitting instructor Todd Takayoshi, Puyallup High School Baseball coach Marc Wiese, former Washington State player Tim Kuykendall, former University of Washington softball national champion Taylor Smith and strength and conditioning coach Keith Eisenmenger – Trolia hopes to offer as many different types of camps as possible in the new facility. He will also continue to host summer camps at Curtis High School, his alma mater, along with former teammate Bryan Robinson – the Vikings’ head coach. He noted that individual instruction and team programs are available, with most offseason programs taking place twice a week for six months. “They’re all progression-based stuff, so kids can join in whenever they want to…and get enough individual attention they can get caught back up and prepare themselves for their season.” Trolia added that the organization is looking to do potential partnerships with Metro Parks and the YMCA, and is also seeking sponsored programs. He also hopes to provide programs for families of local soldiers following a recent opportunity to hold a camp in Germany for children of deployed soldiers. With the facility opening to the public in the coming weeks and baseball offseason training slowing down in late winter, AT Baseball will offer facility rentals in the spring and summer for other sports or activities. And with the long search for a permanent facility over, Trolia now has another example of a valuable lesson to teach his players. “Dreams really can come true, as long as you pursue them and work at them.”
For more info, or to sign up for camps or clinics, visit http://www.atbaseball.com.