Baseball people will tell you that the key to becoming an effective hitter is repetition. You have to see and swing at a lot of pitches so the bat will feel lighter and your eyes sharper. But where to do it? If you’re a kid–or a big kid–growing up in Philly, you have to drive to the suburbs to find a batting cage–or play half ball in the alley until your arms fall off.
But just for a few more days. David Gavigan, the baseball lover and entrepreneur behind Everybody Hits, a batting cage presently being completed in a storied building at Sixth and Girard on the edge of the Northern Liberties, says his $100,000 facility will be open by early to mid April. For our first story on this project, click HERE.
“I just want to get open and get people in the batting cages,” says Gavigan, 26, who developed the business plan for Everybody Hits three years ago after a stint in Americorps. He saved up cash and has been working full time to retrofit the building–with its rather storied past as public market and movie house (among other uses)–for three batting cages, each for either baseball or softball. Each cage is capable of delivering pitches at four speeds (for softball: slow pitch, 40, 50, and 60 miles per hour and for baseball: 40, 50, 60, and 70 miles per hour). A round of pitches will cost $2.25 or five rounds for $10. Teams can rent the facility by the hour and individuals will be able to join up as members; in the off-season, Gavigan will offer hitting clinics and coaching, and of course you’ll be able to rent the place for parties.
Gavigan is capitalizing on the Phillies-fed resurgence of baseball here. “It seems like a lot of people are playing baseball right now in Philly,” he says. But more so, he hopes the facility will become a kind of neighborhood gathering spot, as it has been in the past. The layers of time, he says, have been preserved in the renovation. “I’d like to highlight the history,” he says, “it really interests me.”
In that case, you’ll be swinging for the “oysters” sign behind the screen.