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76ers, Devils owners buy in Ripken, Cooperstown National Baseball News

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Cal Ripken and Cooperstown connected again.

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Ripken’s eponymous leagues for young baseball players merged with Cooperstown All Star Village under a new agreement with the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils.

Josh Harris and David Blitzer became the majority investors in the deal announced Wednesday merging two of… The leading brands in youth baseball which combined to host more than 15,000 teams and 250,000 participants last year. Ripken Experience operates in Maryland, South Carolina and Tennessee and plans to open a location in 2023 in Kentucky. All Star Villageheadquartered in Oneonta, New York, and hosts over 10,000 players ages 10 to 12 each summer.

“Maybe we can explore newer complexes in other parts of the country at a much faster rate than has been the case,” Rybken said in a phone interview. “Our growth has really taken off in the last few years. When we started talking, it became clear, Why kind of compete in the same space? Why don’t we merge because we’re so similar.”

Harris and Blitzer spent an unspecified amount out of the family offices, rather than Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns ownership interests in professional sports teams and other entities.

1982 AL Rookie of the Year and 1983 AL MVP, Ripken spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles before retiring in 2001. He set a record by playing in 2,632 consecutive games He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

The Ripken Experience and All-Star Village have also committed to growing inclusion efforts in baseball. Blitzer was already a minority owner with the Cleveland Guardians He said the franchise will sponsor an underserved Cleveland area team to attend the All Star Village this season.

For the first time since 1950, shortly after Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color barrier, No black player born in the United States has competed in the 2022 World Series Between Houston and Philadelphia. Black players made up 7.2% of Opening Day rosters in 2022. That’s down from 7.6% a year earlier and was the lowest since the study’s data was first collected in 1991, when 18% of MLB players were black.

“We don’t go looking for a partnership with Major League Baseball to find more athletes to play baseball,” said Ripken. “We just want to help the kids.”

While the Ripken Experience serves as host sites for current championship teams, Ripken said the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation is designed to assist programs for at-risk youth in underprivileged areas. The foundation, named after Ripken’s late father, was founded in part to deter juvenile delinquency and by pairing vulnerable youth with law enforcement mentors from local communities. Ripken called the program a kind of “outdoor classroom”.

“In terms of foundation, we’re not looking to make baseball players,” said Ripken. “We look forward to making changes in their lives and we believe that sport benefits everyone. We try to use sport as an alternative to matching people who care about children who need guidance and some mentors.”

Harris, who has been linked as a potential candidate to buy the Washington leaders, and Blitzer originally invested in the Cooperstown All-Star Village last year.

“By accelerating the growth of our youth baseball platform, we plan to not only improve the quality and experience of Ripken Baseball and Cooperstown All Star Village, but also expand its reach to bring Big League experiences to far more young athletes, especially those who may not have access,” Blitzer said. Otherwise.”

Ripken Baseball, which includes vice president and former player Bill Ripken, brother of Cal Jr., also brings its youth sports experience to satellite sites through Ripken Select tournaments.

“We do the tournaments very well,” said Cal Ripken. “Looking to expand into rectangular fields has always been part of our vision. It was happening slowly. Now it gives an opportunity to really look at a whole complex or a larger complex or include both diamonds and rectangles.”

Ripken leaves property to billionaires. Orioles president John Angelos said emphatically this week The team will not leave Baltimore — and Ripken is rooting well for the Oriole from afar.

“When I retired, I bled an orange and when we were going through trouble and rebuilding, I thought I’d be useful,” said Ripken. “I think it would be fun. I think I can help in the right way. But I don’t look at it the same way I did 10 or 15 years ago. I’m 62. Lots of energy in some other areas.”

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