Sports Legends Dedicate New Ball Field at Fort Stewart - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/29/06

Sports Legends Dedicate New Ball Field at Fort Stewart

How often have you told your children to go get dirty? Probably not often. But that was the message to Fort Stewart youngsters from two world-class sports stars and a detergent company.

WTOC was on hand today as children got to meet Cal Ripken, Jr., and Abby Wombach. It was as big a thrill for the parents as it was the kids. And the message rang even truer now that they all have a new place to play.

Of the children that crowded Fort Stewart's new ball field, few could be as happy as Brian Long. The ten-year-old loves sports, but can't always get his friends so excited.

"Every time I knock on their door, they say they're playing video games or watching TV and they won't come outside," he told us.

They might just join him on the renovated field. For the third year, Wisk laundry detergent and baseball legend Ripken teamed up in a contest to remake a ball park in hopes of getting kids more active.

"When I was a kid in Maryland, we didn't have good fields to play baseball on," Ripken said.

Fort Benning won the contest last year and had earned the prize again this year. With Fort Benning's field still in great shape, they passed along the prize to Fort Stewart.

Olympic gold medal winner Abby Wombach says talent isn't as important as the exercise and effort. "Not every person that plays outdoors have to be an athlete or has to be good at what they do."

But Ripken says you never know. "When the ball bounces right, it allows you to play a better game." Something as simple as a great field could help someone like Brian become the next legend.

Ripken's own foundation did the design work on the field. The renovations would have cost Fort Stewart $10,000.

Nearly a thousand recreation departments entered the contest last year.

Reported by: Dal Cannady, dcannady@wtoc.com

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