With the annual Cal Ripken World Series going on, he said, teams from around the world are being exposed to the baseball complex and also have a chance to gain a cultural experience.

"So, I'm always proud to do this," he added.

League of Dreams

Ripken isn't the only member of his family using baseball to make friends. His children, Rachel and Ryan Ripken, have spearheaded a project, League of Dreams, which, too, was a part of Wednesday's activities in Aberdeen.

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Through youth and adult leagues, as well as volunteer and school programs, League of Dreams brings baseball and softball opportunities to children with disabilities.

What started as a community project for Rachel and Ryan Ripken at their respective schools, according to Tim Richardson of Maroon Public Relations, has now become a part of the Cal Ripken World Series.

Cal Ripken took part in Wednesday's ceremony in which Justin Jaquis, 11; Daniel Marano, 16; and Olivia Calvert, 6, served as honorary captains for the teams playing in one of the day's World Series games.

League of Dreams players will get to play a game at the academy this Friday at 5 p.m.

Following the honorary captains' introductions, Cal Ripken headed to the Yankee Stadium field to join Ripken Baseball staff in conducting a clinic for the Japanese visitors.

Programs like the international exchange program and others associated with his public position are helping Ripken realize his goal of growing baseball worldwide the "Ripken Way."

"In some ways when we started the company, we said we wanted to grow baseball worldwide the Ripken Way, almost in tribute to dad," he said, "and it's kind of ironic that we have the opportunity to make these world trips and it's baseball that actually catapults us in doing that."

"We feel like we have a little momentum and we're doing some good stuff. [It's a] long way to go," he said.