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The troubled world of Major League Baseball is celebrating Cal Ripken Jr. these days as if he were the cure for what ails The Game. And in a sense he is the right medicine-if personal dedication, excellence over the long haul and a self-effacing personal style still count. And we think they do.

If the Ripken story has a lasting hold on the public, particularly among young people, this would also be great news for marketers who tie in with the big team sports of baseball, basketball and football.

It would remind advertisers that players other than millionaire egotists can be successful on advertising's stage. They need not be rebels who want no part of being "role models." They need not be mercenaries, floating from city to city searching for the bigger and bigger payday.

Big-time team sports can still produce players like Ripken. Lifelong Baltimore Oriole. An example of what talent and remarkable self-discipline can achieve. About whom marketers, proudly, can say, "Be like Cal."

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