Shortly after the demonstrations and unrest rocked Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation decided it was time to step up its efforts in West Baltimore.
The organization has done just that with various community-oriented functions and its latest venture, a youth development park that will provide children with a safe place to play.
Along with Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE), the foundation unveiled The Eddie Murray Field at BGE Park in West Baltimore on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.
The field will serve as a fun and safe place for youth and the home of James Mosher Baseball, the oldest continuously operating African-American youth baseball league in the United States, according to foundation officials.
“After the unrest, we made a commitment to helping West Baltimore because it was the most effected community in the city,” said Steve Salem, the president of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “This is the first of five parks that we’ll be opening in West Baltimore and we’re so excited to give children a safe place to play, grow, and be kids.”
BGE officials say the park will also provide children mentorship through sports and recreation. To underscore that, Baltimore Orioles legends Cal Ripken Jr., and Eddie Murray, were asked to attend the unveiling.
“Every child deserves a positive environment where they can play and grow while surrounded by caring adults who can teach them important life lessons like teamwork, respect and personal responsibility,” said Cal Ripken Jr. “We are excited to bring this ballpark to the deserving kids and local community of West Baltimore. To be able to dedicate this park to my dear friend Eddie Murray makes today extra special.”
Ongoing programs at the field will help keep kids safe by providing a positive outlet, mentorship opportunities and a variety of activities that teach life skills.
“Like the James Mosher Baseball League, BGE has deep roots in Baltimore, and we are extremely proud to provide this legacy gift to the city we have called home for more than 200 years,” said Calvin G. Butler Jr., chief executive officer for BGE. “This youth development park will have a lasting impact on young people by providing them with a healthy environment where they can build skills and experiences necessary for success as adults.”
Eddie Murray Field at BGE Park features a synthetic turf baseball diamond equipped with dugouts, a backstop, and a digital scoreboard. Located behind James Mosher Elementary, the field will be gifted to and maintained by the Baltimore City Public School system.
BGE’s support of this and other corporate citizenship programs is made possible through the use of Exelon shareholder dollars.
Other project partners include the State of Maryland, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Under Armour, FIELDS, Bon Secours, Baltimore Health System Foundation, T. Rowe Price Foundation.
Since 2009, the Ripken Foundation has created 74 completed parks across the country in 21 states, including 11 parks located throughout the Baltimore area. Additionally, the Ripken Foundation continues to reshape the relationship between law enforcement and youth in Baltimore communities through its “Badges for Baseball” juvenile crime prevention program.
Salem says James Mosher Baseball has had such a tremendous impact on the community, which is one reason the Ripken Foundation enjoys supporting the league.
“For generations, they’ve been able to provide youth with a support system while teaching them valuable life lessons through the game of baseball,” Salem said. “Their commitment to the game and to bettering the community is truly remarkable. The coaches deserve this field, the kids deserve this field, and the community deserves this field.