In 2007 Cal Ripken was named a Public Diplomacy Envoy to the U.S. State Department. Essentially that makes him a goodwill ambassador representing our nation and in that role he uses baseball as a way to connect with kids and parents in other parts of the world.
In 2007 he traveled to China and in 2008 he visited Nicaragua. This year we were working with the State Department on our next trip and after the devastating tsunami and earthquake rocked Japan it was a no brainer. Japan is a baseball-crazed nation and they definitely needed a boost and a small gesture to remind them that the American people care for them and are here for them.
From November 7-16 Cal, and his former teammate Brady Anderson, visited Japan and put on baseball clinics for girls and boys throughout the country…most notably visiting the areas that were heavily impacted on March 11 by the tsunami and quake.
During that time Cal did a lot of interviews about his visit…in fact more than 65 Million people in Japan and 7 Million people here learned about Cal’s visit through the media. This strong PR push, coupled with a daily video blog, helped raise awareness about the fact that eight months after the earthquake and tsunami, things are not back to normal and more help is needed. Included in that effort is an initiative called Tomodachi, which means “friend” in Japanese. It is a public-private initiative that is helping restore some normalcy to the kids in Japan through sports.
Cal will continue in his role as a Public Diplomacy Envoy and we don’t know where we will be headed next but it is good to know that in this day and age filled with controversy and scandal there is still plenty of good being done through sports.
John Maroon is President of Maroon PR. Contact him at John@MaroonPR.com.