Big League Dreams Celebrates 7-year Anniversary This Month
Mar 26, 2015 09:45AM
Big League Dreams Mansfield is located near Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas. With replica fields, a 20,000 sq. ft. indoor soccer pavilion, flag football fields, batting cages, and a Stadium Club restaurant, the organization offers adult softball and indoor soccer leagues, tournaments (baseball, fastpitch and softball) and special events.
We caught up with general manager Brad Brewer, who discussed the advantage the facilities provide to the Metroplex, the structure of the organization, and much more. Plus, click above for a gallery of some recent league champion teams.
Editor's note: This interview was compiled in February, therefore seasons have progressed since then.
Mansfield Magazine: You just finished up season 5. How does that all work?
Brad Brewer: We’re currently into season 1. We try to run 5 seasons a year depending on the weather with rain outs, snow outs, ice. We try to typically fit 5 seasons in a calendar year so we can play year round. We do both soccer and softball almost every night of the week. Season 2, 3 and 4 are big seasons – they run March through October. Right now we have the Die Hard Lifers that like to play year round out here. We’re trying to get through the cruddy weather and get to season 2. That’s when we really ramp up.
There are several divisions for each. The mens division might have 2 or 3 divisions, sometimes up to 6. Every night of the week has its own champion per division. Friday night is our big co-ed night. Softball is on Sunday night. We’ll have up to 12 different champions if we’re full. Each season that we’re in, we probably crown anywhere between 35 and 40 different champions in softball. Soccer, about 25.
The way our seasons work, they’re 10 weeks long. Every 10 weeks we start a new season. There’s a couple of dates we don’t play on and we get rain outs for snow and ice. That pushes the next season back a little bit.
MM: How long has it been around/have you been involved?
Brewer: Since March 2008. So we’re coming up on March 15 is the anniversary. I started as the food and beverage director when we opened. We were all promoted in the end of 2011. I was promoted to GM in 2012. I played a couple of seasons, but work dictates how much I can play. I haven’t played the last couple of seasons.
[Our benefit is] the mindset of what we have to offer to the community. When we came in playing softball year round, it wasn’t really done in North Texas. Getting customers and fans of the game to get used to playing in the cold environment from December to February was something new. Pushing that a couple of winters was tough, but now they see we’re more than just a little municipal softball park.
Our restaurants and being able to get out of the elements of inside and being able to watch TV of sporting events and games, the local scene and hanging out, gives people the opportunity to enjoy more of coming out and enjoying a softball game.
That was a big obstacle at first – we’re here to play 365 days a year for as much as we possibly can. Some of our policies were different than anybody else had been doing in the Metroplex. We’re not just a small municipal complex. It’s a whole operation we tried to maintain a perfect environment as much as possible.
Overcoming the sticker shock of our operation was an obstacle that as they get in and see what they’re paying for and what we have to offer and the environment they bring their families in is a non-issue anymore. Rain outs the first three years we were open with dirt infields was a struggle. Being down so much due to rain for 3-4 days after we get a good rain, or weather like this, was a frustration and struggle.
Since the city and us have come in and redone our infield to put the artificial turf into the infield has rejuvenated our presence in league softball and tournament baseball/softball for youth and results. Ninety-nine percent of the time when the Metroplex is rained out, we’re playing.
We’ve had weather lately where we don’t get a break because it’s not safe to play, but we’ve played the last few nights when I know the rest of the Metroplex hasn’t. Customers have been excited and haven’t complained a bit just because they can get out and play. We had a full slate of practices and scrimmages last night. The parents were excited for the 8- and 9-year-olds to brave the weather last night to get some warm ups for the upcoming tournament season underway.
MM: How can people get involved?
Brewer: They come in and we take registrations year round. They just need to come in and sign up for their team and pay the team fee. We post to Facebook every time we get a new start date set for each night of the week for each sport. They can also look on our website.
All of our registration is done in house – they have to come out here and register. If they’re not on a team or don’t have enough to form one, we have free agent night 3-4 times a year. We can put them on the list and we’ll do a night in the next month where we call all the free agents and let them come out to get some batting cage time and a scrimmage together.
Spring is the biggest time we see interest. Typically the last 3 years in the spring, we’ve been able to put 2-3 teams together for a free agent night. We have quite a few people who move to the area and want to play softball but don’t know many people. We post that on our social media pages too.
There’s no outside involvement. We don’t ask for any volunteers. We maintain and operate the whole facility from start to finish for our league play. We schedule and hire the umpires, etc.
MM: Any exciting plans for the future?
Brewer: We currently have flag football 2 nights a week (adult). Our tourney schedule for the weekends is full. We only have two weekends in August throughout the whole calendar year that we don’t have a tournament scheduled.
August is the hardest time with the heat of the summer, baseball slowing down and school starting up. The Mansfield Youth Baseball Association will start utilizing our facility on the March 16. It’s always a good time of year we look forward to to see local youth kids utilize us for regular league play.
It’s always good to see the kids' smiles when they get to come out here especially the little ones for the first time. We’re in the process, once it warms up, we’ll replace the graphics that have faded over time. We do capital improvement. We have three to four fields we will replace graphics on. Last year we did 2 fields, batting cages, netting, which is a large undertaking (although it doesn’t seem like it). That’s about it.The facilities are located at 500 Heritage Pkwy. S., Mansfield, TX 76063, and can be reached by phone at 817-539-0700. For more information, visit the organization's website.