Ripken Leading Sports Exchange With Japanese Youth

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(Photo by Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images)

(Photo by Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — A new job for the Iron Man.  Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. takes his love for baseball overseas.  Kai Jackson shows us Ripken’s new mission in diplomacy.

He’s promoting something he loves—baseball—yet , perhaps more importantly, he’s helping heal broken hearts.

An all-star in politics and a heavy hitter in the world of sports.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken have teamed up to help kids.

“We love Japan for many reasons but one of them is because they love baseball,” Clinton said.

And it’s their love of the game that in part has brought 16 youth baseball and soccer players to America.  They’re in Washington, taking part in the State Department’s first international sports exchange with Japan.  Ripken is serving as Goodwill Ambassador for the United States.  The retired Orioles shortstop played a similar role with students from China in 2007.

“It is about spreading goodwill.  Spreading goodwill goes across all administrations and the cool part is you’re representing the United States,” Ripken said.

Some of the teens visiting lost relatives when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March.  Secretary Clinton and Ripken believe that, despite cultural differences and communication barriers, sports is a language almost anyone can speak.

Ripken plans to travel to Japan in November to meet with youth affected by the earthquake and tsunami.

One of the visiting teens will throw out the first pitch at Japan’s game in the Little League World Series on August 18 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

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