NASHVILLE, Tenn.— Cal Ripken is no stranger to promoting youth baseball. He’s done it for years in the league that bears his name.
Now, he’s joining Major League Baseball as Commissioner Rob Manfred’s Senior Advisor on Youth Programs.
“Cal will be involved in all area of policy development in the youth area,” Manfred said in making the announcement on Monday at the Winter Meetings.
“That sounds like a much bigger job than I signed up for,” Ripken joked after Manfred made the announcement.
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Ripken began talking with Manfred about a role early this year after Bud Selig stepped down. He’d talked with Selig regularly about promoting youth participation.
One of the problems with getting more young people to play baseball is that they choose other sports more quickly than other children did in the past. Ripken mentioned his experience playing basketball and soccer as a child.
“You don’t have to specialize so early,” Ripken said.
Ripken has followed Adam Jones’ involvement with youth baseball and RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities).
“Some of the RBI programs and our programs in the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, we are in tough areas. We are in the city, and in many ways, you are competing for athletes for other sports,” Ripken said. “You want to appeal to the best athletes.”
Ripken said that the Orioles have a big winter ahead of them.
“You have to continue to make good decisions and collect talent,” Ripken said. “This is probably a pivotal offseason.”