WESTERN BUREAU: Known for producing prodigious talent in football, netball, cricket, and track and field, Jamaica could one day become a world beater in baseball. Yes, that great American pastime could take root in the land of wood and water if former San Francisco Giants baseball player Andrew Dixon has anything to do with it. Dixon recently told The Gleaner of his intention to kickstart a national youth baseball league in Jamaica. With plans well advanced, Dixon has earmarked the league to commence by the end of January 2016. Games will be played in Kingston and Portmore, as well as in the western end of the island. When contacted, the Jamaica-born outfielder said that the league, the first of its kind, is being organised in partnership with the Jamaica Baseball Association (JBA). He explained that the groundwork is currently being done, with some 12 teams already signed up to participate. “It’s looking good because in December I brought some uniforms down,” said Dixon, adding that he is back home in the USA gathering some equipment to send to Jamaica in time to start the league. “In June, I want to bring down some teams from the US, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. By then, our youths would be playing the sport so we can pick an all-star team for Jamaica and let them play against the foreigners,” he further outlined. Dixon has also accepted a coaching position to teach the game for a few months at G.C. Foster College. MORE EXPOSURE He noted that he will be organising a number of baseball clinics at Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth, Montego Bay, and in other parts of the island as his dream is to see baseball become a major sport in Jamaica. “Right now, western Jamaica has some of the best baseball guys, but they are not getting the exposure. The attention is in the Kingston and Portmore areas,” the 51-year-old remarked. “If we can open up and bring baseball throughout the island, then kids out here will get more exposure and develop a new career path,” added Dixon. Apart from working with the Jamaica Baseball Association, Dixon stated that he has several partners in Westmoreland, who are excited and willing to ensure the promotion of the sport in western Jamaica. He is also calling on corporate Jamaica to get on board and make the dream happen. Dixon, who has been running a number of low-key baseball clinics and camps in some western-based communities in recent years, namely, Treasure Beach in St Elizabeth, Darliston and Little London in Westmorland, has also tried launching the sport in Kingston. Dixon left the San Francisco Giants in 1991, then had a stint with the Milwaukee Brewers. He also played professional baseball in Mexico and Venezuela.
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