Fresh off his Hall of Fame induction last month Cal Ripken Jr. has conquered the game of baseball. Now, looking for a new challenge, Ripken is heading out into the world, and is joining the diplomatic corps.
That's right, Ripken is set to get a diplomatic role when he is named special sports envoy for the Bush administration and the State Department. He'll be traveling the world as a public diplomacy envoy.
The State Department said his new role was to increase young people's understanding of the United States by sharing with them his "impressive personal history and life experiences."Now don't get me wrong here, I think Ripken was a great player, and has truly proven himself to be a great family man. But is he the right guy to be a diplomat to the world? Will people in other countries even know who he is? I'm not sure. Yet the bigger question might be whether or not any of these sports envoys (Ripken, Michelle Kwan, etc) even have a real place in the diplomatic world.
"He will reach out to a worldwide audience of young people while visiting their schools and clubs, hosting baseball skills clinics and sharing the keys to his success: character, hard work and perseverance," said the statement.
The State Department has proven itself to know what it's doing, so perhaps we should take them at their word.
The State Department hopes that using sports and other public figures as envoys will stem a tide of suspicion over U.S. foreign policy goals, particularly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.Cal Ripken can be trusted when he talks about sports. But will be trusted when talking public policy? That's his next test.