Tournaments : : Story
Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jerry Ford wants to expand 5-Tool event

Jim Ecker        
JUPITER, Fla. -- Jerry Ford thinks the first Bo Jackson 5-Tool Championship was a big success Saturday night. Now he'd like to see the event grow to include area and regional 5-Tool championships around the country.
 
Ford, the president of Perfect Game USA, helped stage the event at Roger Dean Stadium in conjunction with Jackson's company (Bo Jackson Elite Sports) and Nike. Thirty-two of the top amateur baseball players in the world took part in the event, which was filmed and will be produced for television.
 
Ford was pleased with the turnout, which included 19 Aflac All-Americans, but knows there are other talented players around the country who might want to participate in an event that showcases their skills.
 
"I'd like to see this turn into more of a national-type event, from the standpoint of holding tryouts all over the country and allowing kids that maybe can't afford to travel to events like this to have an opportunity to attend something in their own area," said Ford. "And if they happen to show the kind of tools that it takes to participate, move on to maybe a regional and then end up at something like this, the actual championship."
 
Saturday's event was filmed and will be produced for television, perhaps to be shown in conjunction with the major league draft in June.
 
 "I think it will end up being real good viewing for the month leading up to the draft, because so many of these kids are going to be early picks and thinks like that," said Ford.
 
The 5-Tool Championship was staged as part of the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Florida. Many of the top amateur players and top travel teams in the country are participating in the BBWA tournament, and the 5-Tool event gave many of these top players to relax, socialize and compare skills in a friendly environment.
 
"I thought a lot of these kids represented themselves really well," said Ford. "A lot of these kids -- in fact, probably all of them -- have already played three games in the last two or three days here, and then they're here late at night (on Saturday). It's pretty impressive.
 
"Caleb Cowart (Adel, Ga.) was throwing mid-90s on the mound just Friday, and he comes out here and throws 100 from the outfield," Ford continued. "I mean, it's hard on these kids to do this kind of stuff, but it's also really, really impressive to see the type of people some of these kids are."
 
Ford liked the product on the field. Now he'll be anxious to see how it looks on television.
 
"We still have to look at the final production and see what everything looks like," he said. "But I think there is some really good talent, and some really good plays made in the defensive drills. And obviously, we had plenty of guys that ran 6.5 or better (in the 60-yard dash), and guys that hit long home runs. That's the kind of stuff you want to see from people that have these kind of tools.
 
"So overall, I think it went real well," said Ford. "Obviously there's a lot of kids that couldn't participate. It's late in the year (for baseball). A lot of kids played for Team USA, and they were over in Venezuela a few weeks ago and missed a lot of school, so it makes it tough to do things like this."
 
Ford said the top players who were not able to participate Saturday will be recognized in the television show, to make sure they are not overlooked or forgotten. The event took four hours to stage, partially because of the time it took to get cameras in the right positions for the various skills.
 
"I feel overall it went well," said Ford.
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