This past week, I was invited to visit a brand new indoor sports and conditioning facility located in Pawtucket, RI called the “Facility of Dreams.” From my home in North Kingstown, it was a pretty easy course – 95North to exit 28, right off the ramp heading towards those familiar left turns to head up to McCoy Stadium and its former tenant, then continue on School St. “Facility of Dreams” is located at 750 School St. just passed the Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club. School St. has a bend in the road at 750 and you can enter the parking lot on the right. I arrived just before 11am this past Saturday.
Good size parking lot and just a few steps up to the front door of “Facility of Dreams.” The front door has hours of operations listed as well as the mask policy of the facility. As it was barely 20 degrees outside, I hustled into the facility and was warmly greeted by Ocean State Outlaws Coaches and Facility of Dreams owners Phil Dupras and Brendan Monahan. In the space where I met the two coaches, I could see a large waiting room area with tables and chairs set up. A flat screen TV was mounted to the wall with ESPN playing highlights of last nights sport’s action. To the right, there was a large conference room with table and chairs set up for meetings and round table (well the table was more oval than round) team meeting and discussions. First impression – great layout and use of space, clean, and very welcoming. Phil, Brendan, and I chatted about baseball and sports and their facility’s Covid-19 protocols (proper signage, hand sanitizing stations) for a bit, then started with the tour. Great guys, very friendly and personable. “Welcome to our facility,” motioned Phil with his right arm and we walked towards an open area to peer out into the “Facility of Dreams.”
My eyes weren’t being tricked, the facility went on and on. As we walked from the lobby into the training facility, I looked down the building to see an massive layout of sports, baseball, and softball training resources. “We had a soft opening in December,” said Brendan, “some of the Outlaws players came in and used the place and we took in what the potential could be here.” The place screamed “brand new” everything from the turf to the L-screens, the home plates, netting, and other sports equipment. “Firecracker Sports did a phenomenal job equipping the facility,” Phil added pointing to the retractable netting, the turf, and other baseball and softball equipment. I took a moment to take in layout, which Phil and Brendan had personally drawn out and envisioned, and with the expertise of Firecracker Sports, had turned into what I saw I person.
“Before we get to the baseball and softball areas, come check out the fitness center,” Brendan pointed to my left and the three of us walked around the corner to the fitness room. Cardio, strength training, functional training area with plenty of equipment for a team workout. “We offer memberships to the facility through the Cager Sports App (click here) and the fitness center usage is part of the membership,” mentioned Phil, “Members and teams can work out on a piece of strength equipment, do functional training, or simply run on the treadmill in here.”
From the fitness center, we begin our walk down the many, many baseball and softball tunnels separated by retractable netting. “These first 5 cages/tunnels are available for rentals and primarily designed for youth baseball and softball athletes,” said Phil, “you can rent out a single tunnel, two tunnels, 3 tunnels – we have package deals to fit your individual or team needs.” Each tunnel had an L-Screen, batter’s box with home plate. The last tunnel in the first section had an “Iron Mike” pitching machine setup. Brendan began to pull back on the nets. “The retractable netting which creates the tunnels can be drawn back completely could create a practice area of 72′ X 52′ of space.”
As we passed a line of buckets of baseball, tees, and the facility’s restrooms, Phil pointed out that the next section of tunnels and space is for members only. I stopped to ask about the name and its significance or reference to the “Field of Dreams” movie. Both nodded. “We were researching names of facilities and did a search for ‘Facility of Dreams’ and nothing popped, so we grabbed it.” After chatting a bit about the Outlaws and their upcoming season, we got back to the tour. “This section of tunnels can really benefit the team concept – we can have a pitching group there (pointing to the tunnels with portable pitching mounds, a hitting group or groups there (pointing to the long tunnels with L-screens, and then retract the whole netting for fielding drills,” said Brendan. “115′ X 30′ of space for baseball and softball activity.” You can field a lot of ground balls and get your reps in this off season with this kind of space.
When we finally got to the end of the tunnels, Phil pointed out what he called “The Hit Lab.” Inside the “Hit Lab,” a coach was working with a softball player on some tee work. I noticed a HitTrax system and the owners mentioned that it had just arrived recently and they were in the process of getting it up and going for the facility. “We envision indoor home run derby, team competitions, tons of fun stuff with the HitTrax program installed here at Facility of Dreams,” Phil said. I could tell the “Hit Lab” was a favorite pet project for both Phil and Brendan.
As the time was approaching 12 noon, Phil and Brendan excused themselves to welcome teams and players arriving for afternoon workouts. I took the time to walk around the facility one more time to take some photos and just imagine a facility filled with gloves poppin’, bats thwwacking baseballs and softballs, and the kind of positive energy softball and baseball teams bring to an indoor space. The facility is super clean, well lit, well laid out, and easy to navigate through. On the right side of the tunnels, there is a walk way to travel up and down the facility to get to where you need to be. As I stated previously, restrooms are located about the middle of the facility on the right.
Clean, well lit, brand new equipment and facility resources – Facility of Dreams is a fantastic Rhode Island resource for baseball and softball players, coaches, and organizations. Big thanks to Phil and Brendan, I had a great visit and tour. It was great chatting about their vision, the process of getting in accomplished in 2021, and the Ocean State Outlaws organization. There are some other projects moving forward soon at Facility of Dreams including a pro shop and the aforementioned Hit Lab area. The owners wanted remind interested players, coaches, teams, organizations to utilize the Cager Sports App to rent a tunnel, a package of tunnels, or to learn more about membership rates. Here is the link to the Facility of Dreams site – Facility of Dreams and to their Facebook page.