New business offers indoor training
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
The sounds of clanking bats and baseballs striking leather catching gloves started filling a building off Commerce Parkway in Pelham on Feb. 6, as a longtime baseball and softball aficionado opened his first training facility.
Birmingham resident Robert McGuyer said he decided to open the business to share his love of the two sports with players from across the Birmingham metro area.
“Baseball and softball are the only things I’ve really loved doing, and I just saw a place where I could put that into action,” McGuyer said of the business. “Baseball is one of those things. Once it gets into your blood, it’s hard to get rid of.”
McGuyer said he has coached youth baseball leagues for several years, including his son’s.
Longball Alley, which is at 240 Commerce Parkway behind Gold’s Gym, features six cages with optional pitching machines.
“I’ve got the pitching machines if needed. A lot of times, coaches or parents will want to come in and practice hitting and catching without a machine,” McGuyer said.
Currently, the business offers personal hitting, catching, fielding and pitching training for baseball, and could one day expand those classes to softball.
McGuyer said he chose to open the business in Pelham because of its location near several youth sports leagues.
“The area off that (Alabama 119) exit is located between a wealth of youth programs and parks,” McGuyer said. “And the building is just about perfect for size.”
Longball Alley is open to all ages, but McGuyer said most of his customers will fall into the 8-to-12-year-old age group. He said he is looking to form relationships with youth programs in Pelham, Alabaster, Hoover and North Shelby to help young players better their skills.
The business also features a lounge area featuring an Xbox for family members to use while players train.
Longball Alley is open Monday-Friday from 3-10 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
“There are a lot of facilities that do sports training. I’ve always really loved baseball and softball, so I wanted to focus on just those two sports,” McGuyer said.