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Seymour disappointed in lack of support for local players

Bahamian professional baseball player with the Florida Fire Frogs of the Single-A Advanced Florida State League Anfernee Seymour said that he is disappointed with the lack of support for youth baseball in the country. FILE

Even with the number of professional baseball players from The Bahamas growing on an annual basis, support from both The Bahamas’ government and Corporate Bahamas remains stagnant, according to 22-year-old Atlanta Braves’ prospect Anfernee Seymour.

He said that he is disappointed in the current situation with local players not receiving the recognition and support that they deserve.

In a recent interview with The Nassau Guardian, Seymour said that the current situation of no subvention policy being in place for professional baseball players is absurd. He also lamented the lack of progress made to the Andre Rodgers Baseball Complex over the past year.

“I just don’t get it. We represent our country like all the other pro athletes, but there is very little help given to the players,” he said. “Although we may be in good position financially, that shouldn’t matter when it comes to subvention or any support from Corporate Bahamas or the government. We go out and represent the country every time we take to the field. Whenever I’m interviewed, people ask me about The Bahamas.

“I’ve played in two minor league all-star games, and The Bahamas’ flag was on my jersey both times. Aside from that, as a pro, I can’t even train at home in 2017. I went to an opening ceremony for the baseball stadium like three years ago, and there has been very little done since that day to accommodate the local players.”

Seymour, who was originally signed by the Miami Marlins organization, added that Bahamian baseball is responsible for attracting a lot of new visitors to The Bahamas.

“When you want to talk about sports tourism, baseball is providing that as well,” Seymour said. “Scouts, coaches and team representatives are here year-round looking at talent. They stay at our hotels, eat at local restaurants and also use taxis and other public transportation or rent cars while they are here. All of this benefits The Bahamas. The Bahamas has become a hotbed for talent, and creating events centered on this talent can help to provide for people both on and off the field.

“I honestly can’t see why a greater emphasis isn’t placed on the sport locally. Even when it comes down to visiting schools and other things of that nature, we have to do these things on our own. Yes it is our responsibility as players to give back to the local community, but I feel that there should be local people on the ground helping to at least organize it or making a few calls.”

Another area Seymour said he feels should have way more support from both the government and Corporate Bahamas are the youth baseball leagues.

“If you’re like at a league like Freedom Farm, they are responsible for almost 1,000 kids every year, and JBLN isn’t too far behind. However, before this year, Freedom Farm never had a major sponsor,” Seymour said. “Coach Greg and the other coaches are literally responsible for shaping thousands of lives on that park, and I feel that neither league has gotten the proper support that they deserve from the government and Corporate Bahamas. We always say that we need to invest in our youth, and I think that these leagues are an obvious place to start.”

Seymour enjoyed his best season as a professional this past year. The outfielder was invited to play in the offseason Arizona Fall League. He received the call-up as one of seven members of his Florida Fire Frogs named to the roster.

Seymour concluded his season with the Fire Frogs in the Single A-Advanced Florida State League with strong numbers. This season, Seymour hit .282 with an on-base percentage (OBP) of .342. He drove in 24 and scored 62 runs. In his final month of the season alone, Seymour hit .355 and an OBP of .405 in 21 games. He rose eight spots on the Braves prospect list since the season began.

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