In his first year as commissioner, Rob Manfred continues to show his passion for growing the sport of baseball. Joining the movement ‘officially’ is Cal Ripken Jr.
Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. has been an ambassador for the sport of baseball throughout his career and has continued through retirement. Now, Major League Baseball is asking Ripken to help create more interest in both softball and baseball for future generations focusing on undeserved areas.
During a news conference at the winter meetings Monday afternoon, Ripken was named special adviser to the commissioner on youth programs and outreach.
“Cal has devoted much of his time since his great playing career finished to youth programs, developing youth programs, helping kids enjoy our game,” Manfred said at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. “Cal will be involved in all aspects of our policy development in the youth area.”
Along with being the Manfred’s ‘face’ at public events, the former shortstop will join the MLB Youth Programs Advisory Committee. The group’s purpose is to evaluate and improve existing programs and identify new programs that can grow the sport.
“I’ve always wanted to help develop the kids and let them see the joy that baseball can provide. It’s a wonderful, wonderful sport,” Ripken said. “And I still think it’s a little different than other sports. You don’t have to be the biggest, strongest, and fastest. The skills involved in baseball doesn’t discriminate on size, and it’s wonderful to see a small kid step up and grab a bat and all of a sudden have great success.
Since his retirement in 2001, Ripken has been focused on growing the sport of baseball. Ripken Baseball runs tournaments across the country, including his own fields in SC & TN. The program has built more that 50 youth development parks in the process.