By Bob Behre
Eight-plus months, 48 tournaments and a few thousand games later, Diamond Nation and its loyal base of customers are basking in the after-glow of a memorable tournament season that ushered in the first full season of athletic normalcy since 2019.
Players, coaches, scouts and families were finally completely free of COVID-19 encumbrances and limitations this spring, summer and fall and, it seemed, all of them had a bit of a joyous hop in their step as they embraced every game.
“I completely agree about the energy level at Diamond Nation this year,” said Locked In Baseball’s Ed Collins. “Baseball has been an outlet for our families’ lives during the rough past couple years. Getting back to some normalcy was just what everyone needed. Diamond Nation has created that venue/environment for top level baseball and great facilities. Our players are always pumped to compete at the Nation and they look forward to reading the “Top Stories” from the recent tournaments.
Diamond Nation bolstered its writing staff this season, writing 370 game stories on tournament play alone. Ultimately, it’s about the competition and exposure to college scouts for the players, but for so many of our customers and visitors, it’s more.
“Diamond Nation is like a second home to most of our players and families,” said Mike Guy of Baseball U PA. “They always look forward to the fantastic facilities, quality competition, and overall experience. Moreover, Diamond Nation’s administrators are professional, organized, and first-class. We look forward to these tournaments each year and each year the competition and facilities get better and better.”
Diamond Nation has added much over the past few years, including the addition of Field 7 at the far end of the complex, new scoreboards, plyo ball walls in the bullpens, new netting around the facility, also batting cages and a new restroom at the far end.
“We actually love Diamond Nation so much we have decided as an organization to spend most of our spring and summers there with all of our teams,” said Pat Devlin of the Bucks County Generals. “The competition is great, the employees and umpires are so welcoming. And the facility is top notch. It is one of the best places for our guys to play. The best part of it is since I’ve been going to the Nation every year they seem to add some kind of added feature. New field, new cages, new plyo walls, new scoreboards with radars, new camera system. We absolutely love it.”
Another newish visitor has embraced Diamond Nation, as well.
“We have attended events at Diamond Nation every year since we started in 2020,” said Jimmy Gulden of Baseball U PA (Philly). “We come with our older teams because of the level of competition and the number of college coaches at the events. We bring our younger teams for the quality of the events, complex and the atmosphere of the tournaments.”
While Bucks County had been a frequent visitor over the years, it did become more of a weekly regular in 2022, which was great for all at ‘The Nation’ considering the strong level of play the organization is known for. Baseball U Philly is part of an enormous organization that is certainly one of the more highly competitive and longer running success stories at Diamond Nation.
That reinforced an already powerhouse group of talented organizations that long ago adopted Diamond Nation as their spring, summer and fall home.
Wladyka Baseball, Locked In Baseball Expos, Richmond County Baseball Club (RCBC Marucci) and Full Count Baseball are a few of the other great organizations that help make the Diamond Nation experience ideal for competing players and teams and visiting college scouts.
“When playing in tournaments at Diamond Nation, our coaches, players and families know what to expect: big time fields in a first class complex, great organization and leadership, high level and consistent competition and an excellent playing environment,” says Jim Wladyka of Wladyka Baseball. “This past 2022 spring, summer and fall exceeded expectations. Baseball at Diamond Nation is back to where it was pre-Covid and it’s wonderful to be a part of.”
For Locked In Baseball’s Chris Bagley, this past season at Diamond Nation delivered what his organization has come to expect.
“We’re excited about every new year and every new season and, as the times have changed due to Covid, one thing has remained fairly consistent, we know when we show up at Diamond Nation and our teams are strong the colleges are going to be there,” said Bagley. “Regardless of where we go throughout the country, we find the most consistent showing of (college) coaches is at Diamond Nation, offering the most opportunities for our potential college student athletes to be seen and recruited.”
The consistency of the product and the addition of certain amenities has also been satisfying for the Locked In Baseball family.
“Although Covid has thrown a twist in the way some college teams go about their business, the one constant is that if you are a college within a couple hundred miles of Diamond Nation, you know you need to show your face there because that’s where the best players are,” says Bagley.
“The radar speeds allows parents and coaches the ability to see from different fields what our teams/guys are doing and helps attract interest. The camera system set up on the field allows our guys the ability to go home and use some of their at bats to send out to colleges. The overall experience for us has been great and it’s one of our program’s most important venues.”
Our friends in Staten Island, in this case the outstanding Richmond County Baseball Club, known commonly as RCBC Marucci, have delivered positive results of their own at Diamond Nation and believe the facility has delivered, as well.
“The Richmond County Baseball Club (RCBC Marucci) enjoys participating in tournaments at Diamond Nation,” says RCBC’s Jim Russo. “It’s a convenient ride from our home base in Staten Island, NY, the staff is always friendly and accommodating and the competition is always very good. Our teams have enjoyed success there as well, winning nine tournaments in 2022 and coming in runners-up in six more. We also liked the new field and grandstands opened in the back this year, resulting in more games now at the main complex.”
Another deeply talented organization, Full Count Baseball, has been with Diamond Nation from the very start and, like so many of our relationships, it’s one of mutual respect and admiration.
“Diamond Nation was full steam ahead for our program’s teams in 2022,” says Full Count owner Matt Belford. “We sent all eight of our teams (10U-17U) there in multiple events from April to October. Our players and coaches always circle the calendar knowing it’s going to be a great weekend of smoothness, to just go and show up and compete.
“We’ve been competing there since the opening of Diamond Nation and know we will always face some of the best teams in New Jersey and in the Northeast. There are no surprises; great communication, professionalism, and competitive games are a lock when you enter your players at one of the top facilities in the country. Thank you to all the Diamond Nation staff for welcoming Full Count Baseball and treating our players, families, and coaches so well.”
Great news for our Diamond Nation regulars and newcomers is that our tournaments for next spring, summer and fall are filling quickly, so the competition they so thirst for has been guaranteed for yet another year.
“2022 was our best year to date, and 2023 is already unfolding as even better!” says Nick Massari, Diamond Nation’s Executive Vice President. “The last couple years our focus has been upgrades that will not only enhance the physical play, but more so boost the overall energy of the park. Little things like music, multi-angle live streams, radar guns, and post-game interviews have really made this place come alive!”
So, what will next year bring at ‘The Nation?’
“Our fans can expect an even bigger social media presence in 2023, a re-defined streaming service, and if the world’s supply chain issues can be fixed, maybe even some new turf (wink).”