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Ripken World Series treat for kids, dads

Something occured to me this week as I was taking phone calls from Kennewick American Cal Ripken coaches at the World Series in Maryland.

Do any of these players — 12 years old — know who Cal Ripken is? They were all just wee sluggers when the Hall of Famer and baseball's Ironman hung 'em up in 2001.

Turns out, there is a little confusion about that.

The Ripken world series is held at Cal Ripken Sr. Stadium, a scaled-down model of Camden Yards. So, many of the players figured, it was Cal Ripken Sr. who was at the meet and greet.

Nope. That was junior. Senior was his dad.

So then, they asked, who is Billy?

Ripken — Cal, that is — takes the time to meet every player at the annual series that bears his name. It’s a nice time for the kids, but the real treat is for the dads.

"Absolutely," said Jeff Plew, coach of the Kennewick Americans. "That was right in when we were kids playing at that time."

Biggest surprise about meeting Ripken? He is 6-foot-4.

"He's just a huge man," Plew said. "You never realized on TV until you actually see him."

Who knows, maybe the next series will be named after the Griffeys Ken — Junior and Senior.