In 1969, when he was 9 years old, Cal Ripken Jr. followed his dad Cal Sr. to a baseball clinic in Rochester, N.Y.

At the time, the father's lecture didn't mean much to the younger Ripken: "I remember sitting through his boring lectures. I just went because he was there," Cal Jr. remembers, laughing.

Yesterday at George Washington University's Smith Center, Cal Ripken Jr. highlighted the Colonial Baseball Clinic with a lecture on hitting and an autograph session for 150 youngsters, coaches and fans.

"I just try to stress the fundamentals to the kids," he said. "It can get really boring if someone's just lecturing you; I see some of them dozing off. You can talk about how to execute a double play to an 11- or 12-year-old, but they don't have the physical ability to do it, so it doesn't really register with them. But when they are 17 or 18 years old and the situation arises, yeah, that's when it clicks. They remember what you told them in that lecture and they know how to handle it."

Other speakers at the clinic were Cleveland Indians catcher Andy Allanson, former Washington Senators pitcher Dick Bosman, New York Mets third-base coach Sam Perlozzo, and Old Dominion Coach Mark Newman.

It has been an interesting offseason for Ripken, the Orioles all-star shortstop. He was married Nov. 13, honeymooned two weeks in Europe, signed a one-year contract and has been playing for the Orioles' charity basketball team.

Last season, as the Orioles had their second straight losing season (67-95, 31 games behind the Detroit Tigers), he struggled at the plate, hitting a career-low .252. However, he produced 27 home runs and 98 RBI.

"It was doubly frustrating for me because I've been an Orioles fan my whole life," he said. "To see us play that way all year, it hurt. It's a slow rebuilding process."