Baseball cultural exchange aids tsunami victims in Japan

  The Ridgefield Rays, Ridgefield Babe Ruth, and Bobby Valentine Sports Academy in Stamford have all joined together to facilitate a youth culture exchange for baseball in Ridgefield.

Dan Corbin, one of the leaders of the program, explains “it’s for the Tsunami Relief Foundation in Japan. When we went over and saw just how devastated all these kids were, we knew we needed to help.”

The program brings together boys ages 12 to 15 from Japan, the Bronx, and Ridgefield to play and practice baseball. All of the children are provided lunch and the players from out of town are being housed by the families of the Ridgefield players.

The camp runs all day and the campers were able to go watch a Yankees vs. Red Sox game and visit the 9/11 Memorial together after a week of hard work.

“It was touching,” Corbin said, “a lot of these kids, specifically the Japanese ones, experienced disaster and pain, and were able to connect with the 9/11 survivor giving us the tour.”

Corbin said baseball brings all of these campers together. 

"These kids come from Ridgefield, Stamford, the Bronx, and Japan, so there’s a lot of diversity. But even though a lot of these kids don’t even speak the same language, on the field they’re all communicating and working together.”

The campers were be divided into four teams and played in a six-game tournament on Aug. 15 and Aug. 16. They are scheduled to play today — Thursday, Aug. 17 — at 1:30 p.m., at both East Ridge and Governor Park.

The games at both locations will occur simultaneously.