Indoor batting cages allow for year-round training

Brandon Martin instructs Hayden Farrow, 13, at the Batter’s Box on Monday, March 5, 2018. “It’s helping a lot,” said Martin, who plays pitcher, short stop, and second base. John Roark /

Hayden Farrow, 13, pitches at The Batter’s Box on March 5. “It’s helping a lot,” said Hayden, who plays pitcher, shortstop and second base. John Roark /

Tyler Wilkinson, Carrie McCarty and Brandon Martin pose for a photo at The Batter’s Box on March 5. John Roark /

Brandon Martin pitches during a training session at The Batter’s Box on March 5. John Roark /

Burton Shaw, 11, works on his hitting with his dad Buddy Shaw at The Batter’s Box on March 5. “It’s been a great way to bond together,” Buddy Shaw said. John Roark /

Since the early to mid-1800s, baseball has been at the forefront of American culture.

The sport has captured the imagination of youth and produced some of the most recognizable athletes in American history, earning the moniker of “the national pastime.”

But for eastern Idahoans wanting to polish their skills, the long winters can be a barrier.

Not anymore. One local resident is providing baseball enthusiasts a location to work on their game, train with a professional staff, or have an evening of fun, even if the snow is piled outside.

Brandon Martin has played baseball most of his life. Now, he is turning his passion into a profession.

A native of Idaho Falls, Martin relished every learning opportunity in the game, even if his dream of big league glory seemed unlikely.

Martin is passing down his love of baseball to the next generation with his new venture The Batter’s Box.

The facility at 2296 N Yellowstone Highway, Building 2, features two indoor batting cages where players can work on their hitting, with the help of a pitching machine, or pitching from one of their makeshift mounds.

And the weather is never a factor.

“Obviously we live in Idaho where you have only three months of the year where you can play outside,” Martin said. “So we needed a place, especially with travel ball and softball picking up in our area. We need a place to workout indoors, and that’s what sparked the whole thing.”

Martin, along with co-owner Carrie McCarty, opened The Batter’s Box in November at the Idaho Innovation Center. Since then, demand has continued to grow for space in the facility.

“(Batting cages) are something that has been needed in Idaho Falls for a long time,” Martin said. “It’s something that’s been on my radar for a couple of years. In just a few short months we’ve gone from three people a week to seriously being booked every day.”

Martin is joined in his operation by a team of trainers, focusing on various aspects of the game. Along with Martin, who works on player development, The Batter’s Box offers specialty instruction from Tony Eckman, catching coach; Joel Martin, pitching coach; and Tyler Wilkinson, softball coach.

The trainers are impressed with the impact this facility has had on area players.

“The kids, they listen to you and try their hardest,” Wilkinson said. “It’s pretty cool to see them grow from what you’re saying and getting better each week. I’ve seen a huge improvement from the girls I’ve worked with.”

Martin estimates the facility hosts 45 to 50 kids a week for private sessions with a trainer.

“That’s our whole goal — to teach the game and giving those kids the instruction they need,” he said.

The Batter’s Box also is open to the general public.

Idaho Falls resident Buddy Shaw has been coming to The Batter’s Box with his son Burton every Monday for the past three months. While some of the time is spent preparing Burton for the upcoming Select Baseball season, the time spent this winter playing baseball has been a great bonding experience for the two.

“It’s been fantastic,” Shaw said. “To be able to have these resources, you can’t put a price on it.

“It’s nice to come in, work on some baseball, and have some quiet time with my son to work on some techniques.”

Shaw hopes The Batter’s Box can help promote a stronger baseball community within the region by providing young players the tools needed excel on the diamond.

“We haven’t had this in Idaho Falls for a long time,” he said. “We had teams when I competed 15 or 16 years ago that competed in the Little League World Series. It’s been a long time since we’ve had baseball of that caliber in our area, and I feel like what Brandon’s doing can bring that back for us.”

The Batter’s Box is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays. Sunday sessions are available by appointment.

To learn more about The Batter’s Box or to reserve a session, visit or call 208-520-5018.

Reporter Marc Basham can be reached at 208-542-6763.

Reporter Marc Basham can be reached at 208-542-6763.