KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- KCK cut the ribbon on a brand new youth baseball field Thursday. A number of former Royals were there to help cut the ribbon, as were two longtime Baltimore Orioles, Cal Ripken Jr. and David Segui.
Segui remembers it all from the smell of the popcorn, to the walk up the giant hill at the WyCo 3 and 2 field..
"People think you played in the big leagues and those are the memories, no the memories are here, this is what you remember," Segui said.
Cle Ross`s memories from when he took over the field a few years ago, aren`t quite as nostalgic.
'It was hands down the worst sports ballpark in the state of Kansas, we had no running water, no lights, no electricity, you couldn`t field a ground ball," Ross said.
He teamed up with R.B.I., which stands for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, and met with the Royals and Hall of Famer Ripken Jr. at the All Star Game back in 2012, to try to see if they could get a new field.
"There was a lot of kids that was in a hopeless environment and I knew if we could use baseball as a tool to educate them to provide hope for kids that were struggling," Ross said.
"They put a field in the middle of the hood that inspired all of us in the hood and join together and make a team," Antonio Dunn, 12, said.
Ripken joined a host of former Royals, and his former teammate Segui to cut the ribbon on the state of the art 1.4 million dollar George and Doris Haley field Thursday. The field is named for the attorney who worked on the historic Brown vs Board of Education and went on to serve under seven different Presidential Administrations. Despite his legendary career, George Haley said his greatest honor was learning the field would be named for him shortly before his death last year.
The field is the 57th for Ripken`s foundation.
They stuck around to give the kids some pointers, and join them in a game of catch.
Ripken is working for the Commissioner of Major League Baseball to help grow the game of baseball for kids.
"We`re going to encourage as many players who played the game that have value in speaking about the game to encourage more kids to play," Ripken Jr. said.
Segui, like Ripken began and ended his career in Baltimore, though he played for six teams in between. Even if the field doesn`t produce another Major Leaguer, the goal is to produce a team full of major league citizens.
"Hopefully the community embraces this and realizes what a blessing it is to have this right in your backyard," Segui said.