The United States is adding a dose of iron to even its softest diplomacy. The State Department is deploying some big guns to Japan in the form of former Oriole legend (and Public Diplomacy Envoy)Cal Ripken to make nice on the behalf of the American people.
“The Iron Man”and former Oriole outfielder Brady Anderson will be visiting Japan Nov. 8-16 as “sports diplomats.” There, they’ll visit tsunami- and earthquake-ravaged towns, hold baseball clinics and generally charm the Japanese.
State thinks sports is a great unifier and engine of goodwill (so they’ve clearly never been in the stands at a Phillies game). “Sports diplomacy builds on Secretary Clinton’svision of ‘smart power’ diplomacy,” State said in its announcement of the Hall of Famer’s trip. “It embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, including sports, to bring people together for greater understanding.”
Our suggestion: perhaps in their down time, between sushi dinners and diplomatic functions — or maybe even during the baseball clinics — the former Orioles could do a little scouting for their alma mater. The O’s finished their season with a pathetic 69-93 record, so if Ripken spots, say, a pitching prospect or a hitter along the lines of Ichiro Suzuki, O’s fans would be most grateful.