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Ripken documentary debuts Friday

I attended a screening last night of "A Shortstop in China," a documentary produced by a Baltimore-area film company on Cal Ripken Jr.'s trip to China in 2007 as a diplomatic envoy for the U.S. State Department. The piece debuts on MASN Friday after the Orioles/Yankees game, and if you are at all interested in the following things, I recommend you watch it: Ripken, diplomacy, politics, business, the Orioles, Condoleezza Rice, Ripken Baseball Inc., Eastern culture,  kids, warm fuzzies (it got a little dusty in the room at one point), and what the heck baseball players do with their lives after they're off the field. (For more air dates, click here.) Ripken, former O's teammate and All Star B. J. Surhoff (left) and director Chris Beutler of Renegade all took questions after the 45-minute screening. I asked Ripken and Surhoff if there was anything that struck them about teaching kids from a different culture, language barrier aside. They both said it took a while to get the children, most of elementary school age, to relax and have fun. That part was a challenge, Ripken said, but it made it all that more rewarding when they finally did start cutting loose and laughing. Beutler chimed in: "I had serious doubts about whether you guys would be able to do that."

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