Fantasy camps have become quite popular in recent years, with adults shelling out thousands of dollars -- and sometimes more -- to work out and play ball for a few days with former professional athletes in various sports.
Now Southeast Missouri State University baseball coach Mark Hogan is bringing that concept to the local level.
The first-ever SEMO Baseball Fantasy Camp will be held Tuesday through Friday at Capaha Field from 5-8 p.m. each day.
For a cost of $200, Hogan said participants ages 35 and over will get the opportunity to participate in various drills and workouts with the Southeast coaching staff and selected former and current players. Then on the final day of the camp, an actual game will be played between the campers.
"We're really looking forward to it," said Hogan, who will use the proceeds from the camp as a general fundraiser for his program.
Hogan said the idea for the camp started last spring when some friends of his, who were getting ready for a St. Louis Cardinals fantasy camp, contacted the coach and asked if he would help them do various baseball-type drills and workouts in order to get ready for the camp.
"We just had a blast doing it and the guys were really committed," Hogan said. "At that time, I thought we should do something like that here. We have camps for kids, but not for adults, so I thought it would be a lot of fun."
According to Hogan, the camp will consist of all aspects of baseball as participants will go through instructional practices featuring batting, fielding and bullpen work leading up to Friday's nine-inning game under the lights. Teams will be managed by Southeast's coaching staff.
Participants will be provided with official practice uniforms and game uniforms on game day. They must provide their own glove and baseball shoes, and they will be required to sign an insurance waiver.
Hogan said about 15 people have signed up for the camp so far and there is still a limited number of spots available. Anybody interested should call Hogan at 651-2645.
"I think a lot of guys are nervous that they haven't thrown the ball in a lot of years, but that doesn't matter," said Hogan. "This isn't a tryout. Whatever level they're at is fine.
"The bottom line is we're going to have some fun."
Intrasquad game today
Southeast's actual baseball team -- not the fantasy campers -- will have an intrasquad game today at Capaha Field.
The contest will start approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of Southeast's homecoming football game against Murray State and Hogan said fans are welcome to come out and see the 2002 baseball Indians.