CONYERS - Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Greg McMichael is giving something back to baseball, and it's happening right here in Conyers.
McMichael, who won a World Series with the 1995 Braves, is now managing Thompson's Field of Dreams on Sigman Road.
This summer, the facility is being used to host various tournaments, showcases and camps. It's also the home field of two teams in The Great South League - the Conyers Miracle and the Mentium Athletics
The Great South League is 12-team college summer baseball league featuring teams from Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
This week, McMichael and his business partner, Bobby Holley, also a former professional baseball player, have been busy working with area high school kids.
"We're running a tournament and a showcase this week for high school kids, and we're bringing in some college coaches and some scouts to see them," McMichael said. "The Georgia State coach will also be speaking at a dinner (tonight). He'll be talking about how to get to the next level if you're a high school player. That's kind of what this tournament is centered around.
"Our focus this summer has been twofold. The first is with our tournaments, showcases and camps, the second is with our college teams. We have two college teams that play out here. One is called the Conyers Miracle and the other is the Mentium Athletics. We've got 42 college players from around the country playing here in The Great South League."
McMichael said their goal is not only to teach kids about baseball, but also how to relate baseball to everyday life.
"Our mission is to help the young athlete aspire to be as good as he can be. We're also instructors, so we like to take young athletes and help them improve their game," McMichael said. "If they're a Division I player, we want to make them as good a Division I player as we can. If they're a kid that is good enough to play NAIA, we want to help them develop. And it's not just on the field, it's off the field, too.
"We want to help kids understand that baseball is kind of a microcosm of life. There are challenges that you face on the field, there are slumps and injuries. How you approach the game can help you in how you approach your marriage, your job, college or whatever you face in life."
McMichael encouraged anyone who enjoys baseball or who wants to be a part of the festivities to come out to Thompson's Field of Dreams this summer.
"We love to have people out here. It's kind of like a minor league atmosphere," he said. "We've got music and announcers and some of our games have been on the radio. Teams come from all over and it's just been a lot of fun. We work with the kids and try to help them get better. We've got a concession stand and two fields, so we're just trying to get in as much baseball as we can."
The price of admission to watch one of The Great South League games is $5 per game. For more information on how to get a ticket to tonight's dinner or for more information on upcoming events at Thompson's Field of Dreams, contact Bobby Holley at 678-389-1326.
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.