La Verne Duo Promises No More Rain-Outs if Allowed to Build New Baseball Hub

January 24, 2010
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Deron Marquez, left, and John Carranza are searching for a city to welcome their plan to build an indoor baseball training center.

Deron Marquez, left, and John Carranza are searching for a city to welcome their plan to build an indoor baseball training center.

Last week, baseball tryouts were canceled at high schools and Little Leagues across the Southland, washed out by an unremitting and unrelenting series of Pacific storms. Perhaps, no one felt more frustrated than a couple of La Verne fathers, Deron Marquez and John Carranza, whose dream is to open an indoor Frozen Ropes ( baseball training and instructional center in La Verne or another foothill community.

According to the two men, Marquez a roving professor at UCLA, Claremont and other universities and Carranza, a graphics design artist whose son Isaiah played on La Verne’s Little League Championship Team that reached the divisional playoffs, their dream to open a training facility in the old Vons shopping center at Wheeler and Foothill was rejected by the City of La Verne.

“When we first had a conversation with the City’s planning department, their words to me, ‘We don’t want a batting cage. We want retail.”

Marquez and Carranza, however, believe their Frozen Ropes franchise, now numbering some 40 in the United States, would generate sufficient retail tax revenues by offering instructional classes, a retail store selling top-of-the-line baseball equipment and apparel, a coffee kiosk and other revenue-generators.

Moreover, they believe their Frozen Ropes facility would attract new fans and consumers to the old Vons center, circulating new dollars in such businesses as Mi Ranchito, Garden Square, Red Devil Pizza, CVS, Palace Pet Salon and other retail establishments now open in the center.

The closest Frozen Ropes franchise is in Wildomar, just north of Temecula. The next closest is San Diego. On the day, Carranza and Marquez visited the Wildomar center Frozen Ropes was conducting a coaching clinic for 75 Southland baseball coaches. The place was bustling with people and new dollars.

Both Marquez and Carranza said that if La Verne offered to help them locate in the city’s warehouse/industrial district, they would turn it down on the grounds that the Frozen Ropes facilities, which offers instruction for children as young as three, needs to be uptown and upscale, such as the My Gym location in the Target Center on Foothill, a safe outlet easily accessible to the public.

“Bowling alleys often serve as retail anchors,” Marquez reasoned. “Well, this would be a bowling alley, only with baseball and softball. To me, the logic is the same.”

Marquez and Carranza are also aware that La Verne currently boasts the Southern California Baseball-Softball Academy in La Verne (1328 Palomares St.), but believe their concept would simply make La Verne even more of a baseball town.

“There’s a reason you have McDonald’s, Burger King, Carl’s, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s … there’s choice in capitalism,” said Marquez, who teaches government. “We’re just simply trying to offer to an alternative to what other people are doing. Our project offers a lot more merit than what people think. The more we can educate people our concept, the more they will see that Frozen Ropes is a lot more than a batting cage.”

Opening a Frozen Ropes facility would cost somewhere between $250,000 and $400,000. According to Marquez and Carranza, producing the money is not the problem. It’s finding the right city to accommodate their dream.

“We would love to do it in La Verne; it’s where we live,” Carranza said. “But if that’s not the case, we understand and respect the city’s wishes.”

To gauge the community’s interest, Carranza and Marquez ask that local residents visit, where they can express their interest and support for a Frozen Ropes franchise in this area.

They hope to take letters of support and interest to various foothills cities in hopes that one is ready to roll out the welcome mat for them to build a first-class indoor training and instructional facility for baseball.

Frozen Ropes gives their franchisees a lot of latitude in developing and customizing their facilities. Carranza and Marquez envision a facility large enough to accommodate a regular size indoor infield, multiple batting and pitching cages, team rooms, game rooms, etc.

If that center were already built, they said, La Verne’s teams wouldn’t have been left out in the cold last week. No more rain (or smoke or smog) delays. They could have been holding try-outs in their state-of-the-art facility.

Carranza and Marquez grew up watching Field of Dreams and are well familiar with the movie’s most famous line, “Build it, and they will come.”

“We can build it,” Marquez said. “We would just like some city to approve our plans.”

22 Responses to “La Verne Duo Promises No More Rain-Outs if Allowed to Build New Baseball Hub”

  1. Great Idea Darren and John… I would love to see a facility like this go up in La Verne with an equal opportunity for baseball AND softball. Not one-sided to baseball.

  2. This facility would help keep baseball/softball players and coaches stay up to speed with all the training and work stations that they could ever want!
    La Verne has a pretty good core of young baseball and softball players that would greatly benefit from this. Daron and John are putting efforts in to the community and it keeps kids on target for a great sport!!
    La Verne would be a fantastic fit for a Frozen Ropes Academy.
    Provide a positive place for kids to go to and develop their skills. Seems like a no brainer to me. We should tip our hats to Deron and John for helping our kids and community. Buid it and they will come. Batter up!!

  3. First and foremost, I would just to like to say thanks to all of you who have welcomed this concept and are providing us the much needed feedback.

    Dear Ms. Lisa,

    After reading the article, my wife said the SAME THING!!!!!! Rest assure, Frozen Ropes ( provides instruction for softball ( Frozen Ropes programs ( are geared towards both games and start as young as 3 and continue into the college years. The FR training paradigm is based on “over 20 years of experience in player development including the most current research in biomechanics, sports psychology, visual skills, and strength and conditioning.”

    Another strong facet of Frozen Ropes is the institutionalize nature and structure of the programs; what a student learns here, will be the same means and methods at another Frozen Ropes facility. So, if the student is involved with travel ball and is playing in an area where a FR site is located, the instruction there will be the same as here, thus providing the needed continuity.

    I hope that helps and thanks for the feedback!

    Deron Marquez

  4. These clowns dont have the insight about Frozen Ropes in Temecula or have the background in baseball/softball. Generate “New Dollars” above retail, fat chance boys.

  5. A training concept in baseball or softball is not a cookie cutter approach because each athlete has a different level of talent or experience. If you had any knowledge of teaching in this field, you would understand the difference of a franchise concept to reality.

  6. Actually, a training concept in baseball/softball is absolutely “cookie cutter”. The best players have the same basic fundamentals. Drills may vary but they practice the basic fundamentals to teach the body muscle memory of the correct form of throwing, batting and fielding. A training facility that will make learning these fundamentals available to anyone wanting the training is fantastic. Why wait and hope that your kid first gets a coach that actually knows something, then knows how to teach it and then is willing and has the time to make sure each kid has the correct form with each skill? Ha!

  7. Dear Jerry and Riley,

    Thanks for your perspectives on the Frozen Ropes concept.


    The use of the term “new dollars” does not in any form or function denote replacing a “retail dollar.” It is no hidden fact that retail is the sector all municipalities find desirous. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports a 43.6% increase in this sector from 2000 to 2007; in fact, just in “Clothing and Accessories” there was $314.4 (billion) spent in 2007. Compare that with “Sports (Equipment)” as it is summarized along with 5 other labels under the heading “Recreation,” only $87.0 (billion) was spent in 2007, representing a 39.8% increase during the same period. More money was spent on “Video and Audio Goods” during the same period. So, the point is this: Retail is the catalyst, but there are other sectors, like “Recreation” (as earmarked by the USBEA) where, under the general heading, $841 (billion) was spent in 2007, that can engender a synergistic economical commercial environment by having dollars introduced into a segment that is currently deflated, thus the point of a new or perhaps a “different” dollar having the potential to be captured by another business in close proximity.

    Now, as for the former, I have had numerous conversations with owners across the country regarding their Frozen Ropes operations (and others who are running similar facilities) and have gained valuable insight; it would be of a derelict nature not to engage in such conversations regarding the “to does” and “not to does.” Thus, from such conversations, the background shared by all operators is the love of and for the game and having the means and energy to open an operation that allows others to experience the same. Now, I have played in many ballparks and coached, starting in baseball (then the teams were affiliated with American Legions) and more recently in softball. There is a simple truism that manifests across many, many sectors: “Those who did it, does not mean they can teach it.” (Of course the counter phrase to this is: “Those who can, do; Those you can’t, teach.”) Furthermore, the ability to relate is not universal, thus the demand for multiple institutions offering the same services. As we all know, we all comprehend via different styles, methods and time.


    Perhaps the term “cookie cutter” is useful in starting this dialog. In the beginning, like every person who picked-up a glove and a bat with their mother or father, starts to learn the game with the same basic tools. The basic tools we learned gave way to new basic tools which precipitate new tools and so on. At every step, each athlete masters that level based on their inherent ability and fundamentals. The instructor has to identify what works for each student thus fostering success. Nowhere is it scripted that each student will swing the same, pitch the same, run the same and so forth. Frozen Ropes provides this type of environment.

    Moving to the latter, in my discussions with many parents involved with softball and baseball, there is an omnipresent propensity for this type of facility. They shared with me their desire for an alternative training site and as these individuals learned more about the nature of Frozen Ropes, the more they liked it. So simply stated, there are those in the community that desire something different, but also want a program with proven “means and methods” – Frozen Ropes fulfills that request.

    Franchise or no franchise, that is for the parent, the athlete and the coach to decide!

    Once again, Jerry and Riley, thanks for taking the time to be part of this discussion, I appreciate it!


    Deron Marquez

  8. Great idea Deron and John. I think that this type of facility is very much needed in our area. My two sons, ages 12 and 15 play baseball, and it would be great to be able to take them to a training facility that would take them to the “next level”.

    I don’t know what type of input the posts by Lisa and Jerry were meant to achieve. By their intelligent choice of words, who could possibly take them seriously?

    Good luck – and I will be watching for the announcement of the Grand Opening!

  9. After reading this article, I chuckled at the attempt in “marketing 101” and the ability to sell such a concept that has failed in California.

    First off, you mentioned that Frozen Ropes would feature upscale sporting goods and coffee kiosks. Is this really different or just a convenience to a saturated industries? Are we to believe a frozen ropes franchise would be able to compete with the buying power of Dicks Sporting Goods, Sports Chalet, or Big 5? Is any frozen ropes open at 5am like Starbucks, Circle K, or 7 Eleven where the coffee crowd is looking for a cup before work? In these economic times, doesn’t seem that any city of interest would benefit in gaining “incremental sales” or tax revenues. Different?

    Second, when you speak of the fast foods chains, the comparison is just very weak. These successful chains generate big bucks for the cities across the USA. Frozen Ropes hasn’t been successful in California and city research in San Diego has shown three different owners over a short period of time since they opened. Maybe someone forgot to mention the debt. Now, how would any city benefit from that?

    Third, have to chuckle at your concept of “Capitalism” We’ll to some of us, its free enterprise and not a free ride from the true tax payers. Being part of the USA and not being or coming from “Self Governing” is what true American Citizenship should be. Maybe they forgot that lesson in government!

    As far as the your baseball/softball background, many have told it’s limited to none. Another big question mark for any city wanting to take on such a risk! Jerry and Riley may have some insightful knowledge and the teaching of the game at all levels.

    Seems to me that some of us that help run the city may know a little about these types of marketing franchises..

  10. Deron,

    Nice try, but the numbers don’t reflect today economy. I don’t think a “HUB” for a retail center should be a baseball/softball facility and by all means Frozen Ropes isn’t the answer.

    Maybe you need to understand retail a little more!~

  11. Bill-

    I am stunned by your comments. I am very surprised that in a public forum meant to see if this type of facility would be welcomed in the City of La Verne, you resort to personally attacking Mr. Marquez. You use the words “true taxpayers” and “true American Citizenship” How do you know anything about Mr. Marquez’s citizenship? Are you assuming something because of his last name? From someone who says that you help run the city – which city? I want as far away from your city you help run as possible! Talk about racist!

  12. Laurie

    Get a grip and read between the lines. Do some research and quit being so emotional. Didnt La Verne say “NO Thanks”?

    The post raises some good concerns!

  13. Jerry, read between the lines? It says what it says. Sounds like the NAACP needs to look at laverne practices if this is the attitude of people that “help run the city”. Hopefully Bill Stevens racist comment is his own opinion and not the opinion of people really running that city. Bill, how do you help? I would have some lawyers look into this Deron.

  14. So Jerry……it seems that you have the same ideaologies as Bill Stevens – scarry! I really truely thought that Southern California had moved beyond labelling people. I hope that you are not in government as well. You ask me to stop being so emotional, however, you were the one who used the words “those clowns” how intelligent! Sounds like you have a good old boys club going there. Amazing!

  15. Deron~

    I have the perfect location nestled against the foothills…and a City that would love to talk to you about this concept!

    Look forward to talking to you!

  16. LAURIE

    Everyone has the right to voice an opinion on a open form. Relax! Maybe you need to spent more effort on getting your sons to the next level. Talk with his/her coaches and they may be able to help you.

    One thing for sure, these guys are just little leagues boys and that’s a big boys club! LOL

  17. Peggy – You are so right! It does appear to be “a big boy’s club”! So scarry that people like this are running our cities though! That is how our country got into the mess that we are in. Very frustrating for the general public like us. It does put an unfavorable spotlight on politicians. Enough said! Hopefully John and Deron will consider another foothill city – a city that will be looking toward providing something that their citizens might find useful for their families, and not just the tax dollars that retail would provide. Hopefully there is a city like that out there. Sadly that doesn’t appear to be La Verne.

  18. Amy,
    True, everyone has the right to an opinion on an open forum but when they are claiming that they “help run the city” therefore they represent the city they can no longer express racial overtones and bias. Mr. Stevens has now opened the can of worms that there is more to retail dollars at stake. Mr. Stevens has clearly stated that there is a racial bias and he has a personal bias against Mr. Marquez. Very dangerous waters for people who “help run the city”. Still not clear what Stevens does to help? Big fat old boys club indeed.
    Anyone care to take the discussion back to baseball/softball?
    Bring on a facility that has training for our kids such as described by Mr. Marquez. “The FR training paradigm is based on “over 20 years of experience in player development including the most current research in biomechanics, sports psychology, visual skills, and strength and conditioning.” There is nothing in the area like this. Have you ever been to a FR facility? Amazing. I hope they get it going soon while my kids can benefit from it.

  19. Bad idea with a “Canned Corporate” sell job. FR hasn’t proven anything except buying names to sell franchise fees!

    One thing for sure Marquez or Carranza don’t have the experience in this field. Little league boys club at there best! LOL

  20. Everyone helps run the city if you pay taxes! I don’t take offense to any of this! It’s fun reading the feminist comments that Laurie started and now you assume there fat? Who’s attacking who? Everyone reads a different book, and may think different than you! Called Freedom of the Press

    Comical stuff!

    Maybe you should run for office? Typicial people complainting about what’s wrong with Washington but don’t offer to fix by running and getting involved…

  21. cant wait!!!! I know John from softball with my daughter….he is fabulous!!! I will support this project anyway I can!!

  22. I know John from Little League! He is the type A dad who doesn’t know anything about baseball! Can you imagine this guy trying to run a baseball business. Better keep trying at the web business, because John doesn’t know baseball.

    Will not support this project and glad our city said no.

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