Play Ball!

August 2013
Written By: 
Harold Rohrback

Ripken Experience hits a home run for Myrtle Beach







The goal was to bring the game he  loved to every child he could reach. With the opening of The Ripken Experience – Myrtle Beach in 2006, the Ripken boys, in memory of their dad, Cal Sr., have extended that reach. Located just a long fly ball from Broadway at the Beach, it is a sprawling sports complex with eight themed baseball fields designed to model classic, historic ballparks and a massive training island which includes batting cages, pitching mounds, bunting fields and practice infield/training circles.

Anyone who saw Cal Jr. and Billy play Major League Baseball or Cal Sr. manage a team knows the only acceptable standard is excellence. The Ripken Experience is an extension of that standard. The ball fields and stadiums are constructed to give the young player and spectator a Major League experience. The fields are made with a synthetic surface to ensure consistent bounces and rolls from the ball, as well as reducing the risk of injuries and eliminating rainouts. To promote the big league experience, every field has covered dugouts, lights for night games and a PA system. All week-long summer game tournaments are called on the PA by a play-by-play announcer.

Even the scoreboards have that classic, professional, Major League look. Each field is equipped with a sign explaining the history behind the design and its historical significance in baseball. The complex has the feel, look and atmosphere of a professional venue, complete with a souvenir shop for T-shirts, hats and all things baseball. Of course, there is also a food court, because how could it be baseball without hotdogs?

Week-long tournaments run from June through August and weekend tournaments are September through November. The complex is on target to host more than 1,000 teams from around the country and the world in 2013. Hours vary depending on game schedules. Parking and entry for spectators is free. 

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