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Reddick Stadium opens with access to all

Astros outfielder follows from afar as longtime goal completed
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

ANAHEIM -- Astros outfielder Josh Reddick admitted he was brought to tears early Sunday when he woke to dozens of pictures and videos that were sent to him from Saturday's grand opening of Josh Reddick Stadium in Springfield, Ga. A few hundred people were on hand Saturday for the ribbon cutting, and Reddick followed closely despite being across the country with the Astros.

The field features artificial turf and handicapped-accessible dugouts that are level with the playing field, making it the area's only fully accessible baseball field for children with special needs. Reddick wanted all children to be able to enjoy the facility, which was funded by a gift of about $1 million from his foundation.

ANAHEIM -- Astros outfielder Josh Reddick admitted he was brought to tears early Sunday when he woke to dozens of pictures and videos that were sent to him from Saturday's grand opening of Josh Reddick Stadium in Springfield, Ga. A few hundred people were on hand Saturday for the ribbon cutting, and Reddick followed closely despite being across the country with the Astros.

The field features artificial turf and handicapped-accessible dugouts that are level with the playing field, making it the area's only fully accessible baseball field for children with special needs. Reddick wanted all children to be able to enjoy the facility, which was funded by a gift of about $1 million from his foundation.

"It brings tears to your eyes," Reddick said Sunday. "You know you've been working on something like this not only for the last year, but something I've been wanting to do this since my junior year in high school. It's a dream I've been wanting to come true, and now that it's actually here, it's definitely heartwarming."

The first game at the new stadium, which features a large wall in right field dubbed the "Redd Monster," was played by the Effingham County Navigators, a team of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their siblings. They all wore Reddick's jersey No. 22.

"We couldn't think of anybody else that should be able to play the first game there," Reddick said. "I actually got a video this morning of those kids playing. It brings years to your eyes and I caught myself crying. It's a really good feeling to see a lot of happy faces, especially on the kids."

Tweet from @InfieldChatter: Today, @RealJoshReddick is in Anaheim with the @Astros, while 2,500 miles away one of Reddick���s lifelong dreams comes true.This morning is the grand opening of a ballpark Reddick built in Georgia for children with special needs.We visited recently. It's remarkable. 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/C407Xyx71t

Giving back to the community in which he grew up has been a goal for Reddick. He was inspired by the physical struggles of his father, who lost two fingers in a work accident when Josh was an infant.

"It's something I stuck to my roots for and I wanted to do, and we put it into place last year," Reddick said. "Here we are. Just something going back form my dad getting hurt and seeing what he and my mother went through with his injury, that was enough for me to go, 'Hey, I want everybody to be able to participate.'

"I want guys who actually played baseball, girls who actually played softball, to be able to come together and play together. A lot of kids don't get the opportunity to do that with their friends ... and that's what we're working for."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Josh Reddick