"Play ball!" was the refrain heard around Pope Softball Field during an event hosted by Major League Baseball, July 2. USA Baseball staff led over 200 Fort Bragg youth through several baseball-themed stations, including a home run derby, agility course and bounce ball scrimmage.
The event is part of MLB's Play Ball initiative that aims to get youth involved in baseball.
"We are trying to get young people engaged in our sport across the country from all background and all communities and this is a great representation of that," said Tony Reagins, senior vice president for youth programs, MLB. "Being able to get the military and military families involved in our sport is truly an honor."
Reagins said that the MLB hosts these events all over the country, but today is more special than usual. "This is one of the greatest give backs that you can have -- to engage military Families who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, for our country and being able to get them involved in something we are doing is truly exciting and an honor."
Fort Bragg Families enjoyed their time at the event and felt that the children learned important skills for future play.
"It's a great event for the kids," said Mandy Davis, Family member. "The fundamentals that (my daughter's) learning -- it's hard to find coaches who teach the fundamentals anymore, so it's fun."
Reagins said that the MLB hopes to come back and hold a Play Ball event on Fort Bragg again in the future.
"The most exciting part is when you put a bat and a ball in a young person's hand, the immediate reaction is a smile," he said. "If we can create that over and over again around the country, we think we can have an impact for many, many years to come."