Hall of Famer’s Firm Merging with Cooperstown Youth Baseball Park
Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken is eyeballing a return to Cooperstown, but this time it's for business.
Ripken, whose eponymous Ripken Experience company operates youth baseball tournaments in several states, has agreed to a merger with Cooperstown All-Star Village, the Oneonta-based company that hosts more than 10,000 young athletes annually.
The deal also involves the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils: Josh Harris and David Blitzer are majority investors overseeing the merger.
Ripken recently spoke to ESPN in a phone interview regarding the deal:
We can maybe explore newer complexes in other parts of the country at a much faster rate than it was going. Our growth has really come along the last few years. When we started talking, it just became obvious, why kind of compete in the same space? Why don't we merge because we're very much alike.
Ripken's company currently operates tournaments in Maryland, South Carolina and Tennessee. With Ripken's name attached to a local entity, there may be an uptick in interest, which could benefit the local economy here in Central New York.
Harris and Blitzer first became involved in Cooperstown All-Star Village in 2022. Blitzer said that they hope to "enhance the quality and experience" by growing both youth baseball platforms.
Cooperstown All-Star Village is not the only youth baseball experience in town, however. There is also the Cooperstown Dreams Park, which has been hosting 12-and-under tournaments since 1996.