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Mar. 11—EAST COBB — This week, several former Major League Baseball players and community business leaders celebrated the renovation of the "iconic" East Cobb Baseball/Softball Complex, which has trained a number of kids who have gone on to play professionally.
"The legacy of this complex, as we celebrate the rebirth tonight, is impeccable, and doesn't it look bright and shiny and new and gorgeous?" said Daron Sutton, former MLB broadcaster and son of former MLB pitcher Don Sutton.
The facelift was funded by Perfect Game, a partner of the privately-owned complex that has the exclusive right to host tournaments there. Perfect Game bills itself as the world's "largest elite youth baseball and softball platform and scouting service."
Before a ceremonial ribbon was cut on one of the complex's freshly-turfed fields, Jennifer Ford, executive director of Perfect Game's charitable arm, said the organization would begin hosting a series of free baseball camps for children around metro Atlanta and the country.
"You can't one-and-done these kids, their narrative doesn't change if you just give them a one-day experience," she said.
The inaugural camp was held at the complex Thursday, and more than 500 kids were expected to attend, said Taylor McCollough, vice president of operations at Perfect Game.
"We are going to build upon that as long after the event is over, and support programming right here in their community so that they can continue to take the field," Ford said.
Austell resident and former MLB utility player Lou Collier said investments in the complex and in providing free events to children in the area would make a big difference in their lives.
"Certain kids, when they know that you care, and they see that they have opportunity to do something different with their lives, and they have support — lives change," he said.
Astroturfing the complex's eight fields was just the first part of the facility's renovation, albeit the most impactful, McCollough said. In the future, Perfect Game will update the scoreboard and shade structures as well.