Innovation and a dedication to improving the lives of others were at the base of a partnership between Springfield College and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation that led to the creation of a one-of-a-kind intercollegiate and adaptive baseball field. Referred to as the “Springfield Model” by the foundation, the new field, located on the Springfield College campus, was unveiled on Thursday, Oct. 19. Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr., joined Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new field. Springfield is the first college in the country with a Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation adaptive field on its campus.
“This is a great day for Springfield College, its student athletes and the surrounding community,” said Cal Ripken, Jr. “We are honored to be a part of the thoughtful efforts to develop a winning home field for the Pride baseball team, while also providing a wonderful park for children with special needs to have a fun and safe place to play. This project is a great example of leveling the playing field”
The new facilities include an artificial turf field, bullpens, batting cages, a new grandstand, a new scoreboard, and sound system that serves both the adaptive and the Springfield College team fields.
“We at Springfield College feel privileged to work with Cal Ripken and the foundation to build a field that will serve our intercollegiate baseball team, as well as the greater Springfield community, including those with disabilities,” said Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper. “This partnership is an organic one for Springfield College because of the similar values and mission.”
The project fits with both the mission of Springfield College to educate students in spirit, mind, and body for leadership and service to others, and the mission of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to build character and teach critical life lessons to at-risk young people through sports-themed programs.
Youth athletes from the Miracle League, Special Olympics, and local baseball programs will benefit from the new facility. The Miracle League played its first game on the new field in early October.
About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF)
For the last 16 years, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has worked tirelessly to implement youth development program that directly address the problems facing at-risk youth in distressed communities across the country. Inspired by one of the most iconic baseball families, the Ripkens created the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to honor the legacy of its family patriarch, longtime coach, and mentor, Cal Ripken, Sr. The Ripken Foundation uses sports-themed programs to bring police officers, youth partners and underserved kids ages 9 – 14 together on a level playing field to learn invaluable life skills.
In addition, the Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multi-purpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. In just six years, the Ripken Foundation has created 68 completed parks across the country in 19 states, impacting over 279,000 kids annually. In 2016, the Ripken Foundation impacted over 1.2 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentor programs. For more information, visit www.RipkenFoundation.org. Follow on Facebook/Twitter @CalRipkenSrFdn and Instagram @CalRipkenSrFoundation.
About Springfield College
Founded in 1885, Springfield College is known worldwide for the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy—educating students in spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others. With its foundation of academic excellence and rich athletic heritage, Springfield College prepares students with real-world leadership skills for careers that transform lives and communities. The college offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of health sciences, human and social services, sport management and movement studies, education, business, and the arts and sciences. It also offers doctoral programs in physical education, physical therapy, and counseling psychology. The college is ranked in the top 25 in the 2018 edition of “Best Colleges” in the top tier of “Best Regional Universities – North Region” by U.S.News. In addition, the College is ranked one of the top 17 in the North Region of the U.S.News Best Values report. It is also designated as a College of Distinction and a premier Leadership Development Center by the YMCA of the USA. Nearly 5,000 traditional, nontraditional and international students study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its School of Professional and Continuing Studies across the country.