On behalf of the Kansas Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken Baseball program, I would like to say thank you to the Garden City Recreation Commission. This year, John Washington and Jared Rutti agreed to host the 9-year-old State Tournament and the 14-year-old Midwest Plains Regional Tournament. The 9-year-olds are done and boosted the Garden City economy in a big way. It was reported to boost the GC economy more than $150,000, isn't that awesome! Well, now they have the regional tournament next weekend and we need your help now! This is seven state champions and a team from Canada with our host team.

I serve as the assistant state commissioner for the 12-year-old division for Cal Ripken and will serve on the task force for the regional tournament. My job is to help run the tournament. The tournament would not run without the help of our housing coordinator. In the past, the CVB has helped locate homes; this year it is up to GCRC. We will need to house 144 kids, which is around 72 homes. This is the only hiccup in hosting regional tournaments with Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Baseball. I have had much smaller towns host state tournaments (Elkhart, Lakin, Liberal, Ulysses to name a few) in the past and they don't have any problems finding host families. Garden City is bigger and large enough that we should be able to find 70-plus homes for the tournament. Please consider hosting these kids and call Jared at the GCRC at 276-1200. Call John or even call myself at the YMCA. You will be required to feed the players and wash their uniforms all weekend. They will check in Thursday night with a free barbecue for all the families and players. Then, they will play in a double-elimination bracket starting Friday afternoon. Once the team is eliminated, they will go back home. The tournament will run from Aug. 2 to 7. Please help and consider housing some players. If you have any younger players, this is a great way to get them excited for baseball and watch some good baseball. We will have seven state champions and a team from Canada participating with our host team. The host team parents should all take some kids to host. All other All-Star teams should step up and help as well. We need some families. This is a great way to reach out and help your community. You never know, the player you host could someday be playing in the major leagues. And let me tell you, he will remember his host family in Garden City for his regional tournament.

Being a baseball nut, I love to see our facilities used in town for a regional tournament. We boast some good fields and we need these tournaments to help our economy. Thanks to Garden City Recreation Commission and the CVB for stepping up to the plate and going to bat for our community. So, please consider helping and always remember to stay out of the double play!

Thank you,


Garden City