On the fourth floor of Lane Stadium Friday night, former major league player and current studio analyst for MLB Network Billy Ripken highlighted Virginia Tech’s 11th annual Baseball Night in Blacksburg as he shared wisdom and knowledge passed down from his father and Hall of Fame brother to the delight of those in attendance.
As always, the night featured a silent auction that benefits the baseball program, a catered dinner provided by Bull & Bones and a rundown on the status of the program from head coach John Szefc before Ripken took the stage.
Szefc thanked all the former players in attendance, gave his outlook on the season, introduced his staff and players. He also talked about where the overall program stands, with the upgrades to English Field at Union Park and the James C. Weaver Baseball Center, and where he sees the program moving forward in terms of making improvements.
After a brief intermission, it was Ripken’s turn. He started with talking about one of his most memorable moments, July 11, 1987 when he and his brother were in the starting lineup for the Baltimore Orioles playing for their father – the first time a father was managing two sons in a major league baseball game.
Ripken further spoke about how influential his father and brother were on his career, passed along some of that advice to the audience and then held a Q&A session at the end, which provided a lot of his thoughts and insight into today’s game.
The event came exactly two weeks ahead of the Hokies season opener, which will take place on Friday, Feb. 15 in DeLand, Florida. Tech will face 2018 NCAA Regional host Stetson at 7 p.m. – the first of three games in a tournament behind held by the Hatters.
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