In Mattoon last week Ripken didn't seem much worried about revenue sharing or the Williams-port series or Nintendo-addled kids or anything else. Mattoon is like Aberdeen, a town that hasn't tangled much with progress, and Ripken looked at home there. One morning he stood in the outfield, shagging balls with his new little buddies during a home run derby. On Friday the town came out for a parade down Broadway, and Ripken was right in the middle of it, sitting high on a Chevy truck, making graceful waves to the townspeople on a warm summer night. On Sunday afternoon, as he broadcast the final, his final, he took in the crowd and the game and the moment and looked for all the world like the most contented man in baseball.
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