TOMODACHI and MLB Help Kids in Ofunato
On August 18, 2012 the TOMODACHI Initiative and Major League Baseball (MLB) continued their support for the youth of Tohoku by organizing a donation of baseball equipment from the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to four Japanese youth baseball teams in Iwate Prefecture. The teams were competing in a tournament hosted by the Japan Junior Sports Club Association, in conjunction with the Kizuna Foundation.
Following the tournament, the presentation of the baseball equipment took place at the Okirai Middle School in Okirai, Iwate Prefecture as part of the MLB Roadshow, a traveling interactive fan experience where young boys and girls can test out their baseball skills.
This year’s donations are the latest example of America’s long-term commitment to the Tohoku region, following the visit of Cal Ripken, Jr. in November 2011; the visit of players from the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners to Ishinomaki in March 2012; and the rehabilitation of a baseball field in Ishinomaki that was damaged during the humanitarian relief efforts after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Cal Ripken, Jr. provided a written message to the young ballplayers at the closing ceremony of the tournament, saying “When I visited with you in November I was struck by your strength, your passion and your honor. Our countries have forged a wonderful relationship and baseball seems to be a part of that.”
TOMODACHI would like to thank Major League Baseball, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, the Japan Junior Sports Club Association, and the Kizuna Foundation for their assistance in organizing this event, highlighting the shared love of baseball that unites the people of Japan and the people of the United States.