Youngsters to compete in Ripken World Series

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Cal Ripken 2003 World Series will be held at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen from Aug. 16 to Aug. 24.

The Aberdeen Community Projects Committee, which is welcoming the estimated 300 11-and 12-year-old players and their coaching staffs, anticipates that they will arrive Aug. 12 and Aug. 13. Aberdeen Councilman Jerry Hansen heads the all-volunteer committee.

Using the Ripken Museum building as headquarters, Jane Robinson, vice president of the committee, will handle host assignments and orientation.

Series activities start at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 14, with a picnic and swim party at the Aberdeen Swim Club on Old Robinhood Road. The Aberdeen Moose Family Center will serve the food and drinks provided by the New Ideal Diner and various other sponsors and vendors.

At 5:15 p.m. Aug. 14, a welcoming parade on West Bel Air Avenue will give area residents the opportunity to meet the players, coaches, staff and officials of the Babe Ruth League and Ripken Baseball - all of whom will appear in the parade.

The parade will form on South Law Street and proceed down West Bel Air Avenue, turn left at Ripken Plaza and on to Festival Park. In Festival Park, the Aberdeen Lions Club will serve dinner. Honored guests and speakers at this dinner will include Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Cal Ripken Jr.

Aug. 15, the players will spend the day at Ripken Stadium for "skills day" - base running, hitting, and other activities. Opening ceremonies, to include the finals of the home run contest, will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Ripken Stadium. The public is invited.

During the next eight days, five games daily beginning at 11 a.m. will be played at the stadium, resulting in the World Series Championship game being played at 4 p.m. Aug. 24, which will be televised nationwide on Fox Sports Net.

Fifteen teams will participate in the event, eight teams from regions across the United States, the Maryland state champion, a team from Aberdeen and five international teams. Each team will consist of 15 players, a manager and two coaches. The five international teams will be from Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, South Korea and Mexico. This will be the first appearance in the World Series for the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Net proceeds from the event will go toward the construction of Cal Sr.'s Yard, the youth-sized version of Oriole Park at Camden Yards being built adjacent to Ripken Stadium. Cal Sr.'s Yard is under consideration to be the future home of the Cal Ripken World Series.

In the summer of 1999, the Babe Ruth League Inc. changed the name of its largest division (5- to 12-year-olds) from "Bambino" to "Cal Ripken Baseball," a Division of Babe Ruth League Inc. Today more than 600,000 youth ballplayers play Cal Ripken Baseball worldwide. Each year, the season culminates with the Cal Ripken World Series.

Tournament passes are available through TicketMaster by phone at 410-481-SEAT or in person at all TicketMaster locations and at the Ripken Stadium Box Office. The box office is open from 10 am to 5 pm. Monday through Friday.

Tournament passes cost $20 for adults and $12 for children age 10 and younger. A tournament pass gives the bearer unlimited access to Ripken Stadium during the 37-game event.

Banquet tickets, series tickets and are available at the World Series Office in the Ripken Museum at West Bel Air Avenue and U.S. 40. Call the office at 410-297-9085 for more information.

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