In true baseball fashion, Rialto celebrated the grand re-opening of Bud Bender Park debuting the home of the Inland Empire’s first Dodgers Dreamfield.
With hot dogs, peanuts and a barbershop quartet rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” kicking off the day, crowds reveled in Rialto baseball T’s marking the city’s newest addition for local families to play.
“We are proud to dedicate our 41st and 42nd Dodgers Dreamfield in the City of Rialto, the furthest Dodgers Dreamfields from Dodger Stadium in the Greater LA area since the inception of our Dreamfields program. We are thrilled to be a part of this addition to (Rialto’s) $3.7 million renovation of Bud Bender Park. The overall impact to the children and families in this community is going to be tremendous.” said Nichol Whiteman, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Executive Director, in a press release.
The field offers a nostalgic Dodgers motif thanks to the donation of two solar scoreboards from The Los Angeles Dodgers, through their LA Dodgers Foundation.
The park’s namesake, Bud Bender, was almost speechless upon seeing the new baseball playground.
“It’s overwhelming for me to even see that the Dodgers Dreamfield is here at Bud Bender Park. I can’t put it into words, it’s so beautiful,” Bud Bender said.
He was gifted a baseball bat autographed by the Dodgers.
As part of the festivities, a renaming ceremony of the renovated baseball field also took place marking the field officially as the Ricky Nolasco Field. Nolasco, a Rialto native and Rialto High School Alumni is a current pitcher for the Minnesota Twins.
Along with debut of the dreamfield, new playground equipment funded by donations of $80,000 from Niagara Water through a public/private partnership, was also unveiled during the celebration.
Youth baseball clinics with Dodger Legends, along with several other activities followed the ceremonies.
Bud Bender Park is at 300 N. Lilac Avenue.