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Ripken interested to see Uptons play together


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Having played a portion of his Hall of Fame career with his brother, Cal Ripken Jr. is looking forward to seeing B.J. Upton and Justin Upton play for the Braves over the course of the next few years.

"I think there could be some inter-team competition with them, which I think will be really healthy," said Ripken, who played with his brother, Billy, in Baltimore from 1987-92 and in '96. "The game gets so long with 162 games, a lot of times you have to find different forms of motivation because there are so many ups and downs.

"It's not going to be about who can one up each other. But because they know each other so well, I think that will help some of those days when it is difficult to show up. I love the dynamic and I'm very curious and very interested to watch the Braves more because of the brothers."

While Ripken is admittedly less familiar with Justin Upton, he has grown to be a big fan of the athleticism B.J. Upton is expected to bring the Braves in center field.

"They're two talented players," Ripken said. "B.J. Upton to me is one of the most talented center fielders in the game. When he played shallow, I loved his aggressiveness and his angles to the ball. To me, in my era, he reminds me of Devon White. Devon White would take a good angle and cruise with ease to balls that other people wouldn't catch."

Ripken was at Champion Stadium on Friday to promote his latest book "Wild Pitch" -- the third installment of fictional novels centered on a youth baseball team. The Hall of Fame shortstop's motivation behind writing the books is to help children deal with societal issues they could encounter while playing baseball.

"I love communicating with kids and talking about certain social issues and values and propositions," Ripken said. "A lot of times, the written word is a good way to drive the message home because it's not about you. It almost seems like it depersonalizes some of these issues so that you can understand them."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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