Don Flynn began exploring the possibility of bringing a Game Day USA youth baseball tournament to Prospect Meadows more than eight years ago, back when the facility was mostly a dream.
Now the time has come for Game Day to actually stage an event at the new complex north of Marion.
“We’re excited,” said Flynn, a vice president for Game Day, which has its headquarters in Naperville, Ill. “It’s been a long process. We’ve wanted to be in the state of Iowa for many years.”
Mary Lee Malmberg, a sports tourism official for Cedar Rapids, would see Flynn at sports conventions and promote the idea of staging a youth baseball tournament in Linn County. Jack Roeder, the general manager at Prospect Meadows, visited the Game Day offices in Naperville and that led to a three-year contract to hold events here.
The first Game Day tournament is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday. There’s only a modest total of 11 teams in three age groups this weekend, but Flynn said they already have 34 teams for their next event here June 14-16.
This weekend’s tournament has six teams from Iowa, two from Wisconsin, two from Illinois and one from Missouri in 9U, 13U and 15U.
“We’re happy with that,” said Flynn. “You always wish you have more teams. We promoted the heck out of it for a year-and-a-half. We feel fortunate that we have that many teams committed.”
Flynn said Game Day USA stages more than 150 tournaments on an annual basis in 12 states, with approximately 6,000 teams per year. They plan to hold six-to-eight tournaments at Prospect Meadows in 2020 and 2021, focusing on 9U through 15U events.
“We’re really happy to be partnering with Jack Roeder and Prospect Meadows,” said Flynn. “They have a good team.”