Ripken lauds Braun's long-term pact

Ripken lauds Braun's long-term pact

MILWAUKEE -- Former Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr. played his entire Hall of Fame career for one team, and he was glad to see Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun sign a contract last week that puts him in position to do the same thing.

"There are challenges all across the board for players to play in one place; sometimes situations change, sometimes rebuilding programs change, sometimes you can't last," Ripken said. "It's really good to see players do it. If a lot of players had their druthers, they would like to play in a place they grew up, but sometimes you don't have choices.

"When you do have choices, and you can start to get your long-term identity with a team, it makes me feel good. I'm sure the fans here feel really good that they can watch him for a while, and you hope the situation is always preserved."

Ripken was in Milwaukee promoting "Badges for Baseball," a program affiliated with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation that pairs at-risk kids and law enforcement officials in baseball and softball events. Ripken is paired with Wisconsin Attorney General J.P. Van Hollen in the program.

Wisconsin is one of 18 states with Badges for Baseball programs.

"When my dad died from lung cancer, [his brother] Billy and I sat down and tried to capture the spirit of his life," Ripken said. "Dad was always into helping kids, especially kids who didn't have dads, so we decided to start the foundation in that spirit. We use baseball as an icebreaker just to get in front of kids."