Monday Memory: On July 4, nothing as American as Cal Ripken Jr. and a Coke

Happy July 4! While teams trot out those patriotic stars-and-stripes uniforms for the Independence Day holiday, we here at Orioles Buzz renew our heartfelt belief that every major league club should play (preferably a single-admission doubleheader) on each of the holidays that falls during the sport’s six-month regular season - Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day. You’d think you’d always get every team in action on those days, but that’s not always the case - though all 30 teams are playing today, as it should be.

Baseball is as American as July 4, along with apple pie, hot dogs and Chevrolets. For the purposes of this post, I’m also including Coke in my list of red, white and blue icons. (I’m actually a Diet Coke devotee, and not a fan of Pepsi, though that brand’s current television spot featuring Santa Claus boogieing with the masses is quite amusing if a little sacrilegious considering the jolly ol’ elf’s history with the Coca-Cola Bottling Co.)

If baseball’s totally American, no one represented it better than the Iron Man himself, Cal Ripken Jr. So here’s hoping baseball’s all-time leader in consecutive games played is enjoying a day off today with his family. And here’s a YouTube recollection of a commercial from 2001, Ripken’s last in the majors.

Ripken is pitching Coke, soaking in the memories he’s created at Camden Yards, until he’s reminded by daughter Rachel that it’s time to hit the clubhouse. Father and daughter then stroll off the field, arm in arm.

It’s hard to believe that little girl urging dad off the field will be 22 in November, or that Ryan Ripken will turn 18 on July 18. Ryan was back at Camden Yards in May, singling and scoring a run as Gilman beat Mr. St. Joseph’s in the finals of the inaugural President’s Cup tournament. Rachel is a junior at the University of Colorado.

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