Hall of famer and former Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. looks on prior to game three of the American League Championship Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians at Rogers Centre on October 17, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
5:33 PM 04/20/2018
Cal Ripken Jr. will visit the Czech Republic between April 21 and 25 as a part of a State Department Sports Envoy to celebrate the centennial U.S.-Czech diplomatic relations, the State Department announced Friday.
Throughout 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Prague is backing programs and taking part in events that focus on U.S.-Czech friendship and history, which began a century ago following the formation of Czechoslovakia post-WWI.
Each month, the Embassy concentrates on a different theme of the relationship. As Ripkens involvement suggests, Aprils theme is sports.
“This is an exciting trip and Im honored to have the opportunity to teach the game I love, while embracing the culture of the Czech Republic. I look forward to meeting everyone and learning more about how we can help grow the game of baseball internationally,” Ripken said.
Ripken will run clinics for youth, speak to coaches and officials, hold public discussions, meet the Czech Olympic Committee, donate equipment to Romani communities in Prague and open a baseball exhibit at the renowned Pilsen Brewery.
This wont be Ripkens first stint in foreign affairs as the State Department named him an American Public Diplomacy Envoy in 2007, through which he led similar baseball-oriented initiatives in China, Japan and Nicaragua.
Even if his considerable diplomatic experience isnt enough to effectively enrich Czech baseball infrastructure, surely Ripkens .276 career batting average, 431 home-runs and membership in the elusive 3000-hit club will pick up any slack.