Hillary Clinton and Cal Ripken talk baseball. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

“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.