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As spring nears and a new season of baseball begins, it feels like a good time to reflect on the game’s congregation of personalities: the superstitious reliever, the tobacco-spittin’ slugger, the devil-may-care base-stealer, the flamboyant outfielder, the blue-collar catcher, and so on. But for all its variety, the American pastime doesn’t boast many players who you’d want to (or, frankly, would be able to) pen a book for children. Then again, there haven’t been many players like Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken, who transcended mere Baltimorean legend by shattering Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive games played, served as third baseman, shortstop, and hitter par excellence over 21 seasons with the Orioles. Today, he signs copies of the second entry into his Matt Christopheresque “books to inspire young kids with big dreams and mediocre athletic ability” series at Politics & Prose. It’s probably the easiest way to snag your kid an autograph from one of the league’s legends, but we can keep that between the two of us. Ripken signs copies of his book at 3:30 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Aaron Morrissey)


Baltimore band Roomrunner, whose drummer is Danny Bowen from Double Dagger, headlines the Black Cat’s backstage tonight. Curious? Stream the band’s forthcoming 12-inch, Super Vague, from Fan Death’s Soundcloud. Priests and The Deads open. 8 p.m. at 1811 14th St. NW. $8.


Calling all philosophy majors: It’s the 300th birth year of Enlightenment thinker Jean-Jacques Rosseau. Celebrate it with Blame It On Rosseau, a compilation of short documentaries, video essays, and animations inspired by the Genevan. The films show at 7 p.m. at the Embassy of Switzerland, 2900 Cathedral Ave. NW. Free, but RSVP required at Eventbrite.

Last week the AFI Silver Theatre kicked off the 2012 New African Film Festival, and selections continue tonight with Lucky, An African Election, and Mama Africa, a biography of the vastly influential South African singer Miriam Makeba. All films show at 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $11. See AFI’s website for showtimes. (301) 495-6700.


Talk about a tasty pairing. The gustatory stylings of Rammy Award-winning “Rising Culinary Star of the Year” chef Kyle Bailey and sudsy selections of James Beard Award-nominated “Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional” Greg Engert make for a considerable one-two punch on any given night of the week. But, this particular evening, Birch & Barley’s dynamic dining and drinking duo are teaming up on a special five-course, nine-beer fund-raising dinner, cleverly titled “Pints To Help Half Pints,” to benefit the creative writing programs of the nonprofit 826DC and Museum of Unnatural History. The menu includes a bacon and walnut ravioli paired with Collaboration Not Litigation Ale and a grilled ribeye served with Surly Brewing’s Smoke. Tickets are $150. As of this morning, a handful of seats were still available. Get yours here. Birch & Barley, 1337 14th St. NW, (202) 567-2576(Chris Shott)