Ripken at Beijing Olympic Baseball Fields
Beijing– It really is a small world and seeing Cal on the opposite side of the globe today was pretty cool…even though he was in a suit! He held a youth clinic at the Fengtai Softball Complex today after touring the Wukesong Olympic venue which is where USA Baseball will compete next summer for the 2008 Gold Medal.
BJ Surhoff was also part of the coaching tour as he will be helping Cal with the youth clinics. As with most players, checking outs new ballparks, these two guys never ventured off the field during the complex tour. Although a few of the entourage asked about seats and the press box, we never went into the stands. Cal and BJ both have a wealth of experience regarding the ballparks and fields they played on during there careers. We spent quite a bit of time talking about stadium comparisons as well as the "feel" of the park. The Bermuda turf is almost dormant as you can see from the photo. We have overseeded with DLF’s PHD Blend. and Axcella2 winter rye varieties. With the temps dropping into the upper 30’s at night we are hoping the seed will pop. In the meantime we are looking locally for a growth blanket to keep it a little warmer at night.
Cal actually mentioned how much the second competition venue in Beijing reminded him of the old West Palm Municipal stadium. (AKA home depot) He reminisced about playing there during his A-ball years. In the states Cal is noticed by everyone and every where he goes?here its different. Since baseball is not a big sport in China, it makes since no one knows who Cal is when they see him. On the other hand, it?s a clean slate for the development of the game in a country that has a thirst for western styles of just about anything.. Especially the younger generation.
Both made some great comments about the Beijing ball parks. From the seating bowl to the batters eye. BJ even went out to center field and took a jump against the wall pad in his suit to check the padding out. The envoy/ambassador trip to build the game internationally was great timing as it will definitely boost the game development in China.
The state department is hosting the event and it continues tomorrow before the Team ripken heads down to Shanghai on Thursday. We are staying in Beijing to continue ongoing discussion for a potential MLB Game in Beijing next year. Still to early to say who the the teams might be as negotiations here can get stuck pretty easy.
The US Ambassodor hosted a reception last night for Cal, BJ and the Ripken Clan of John Maroon and Scott Lowe and Chris Flannery. It was fun meeting with them during that event as well