I’m going to keep this entry brief and get right to the point.
Yes, Cal Ripken Jr. is interested in getting back into baseball. He’s also intrigued by the idea of managing. If he’s contacted about an opening, he’s going to listen.
In other words, nothing has changed in the last 24, 48 or 72 hours. Nothing has changed for months.
Ripken has stated previously that he’d consider a return to the majors once daughter Rachel and son Ryan were in college. They’re out of the house and he’s got the itch.
It’s just become more public while he’s in the broadcast booth for the playoffs.
I spoke to someone close to Ripken yesterday who wondered why the Hall of Famer had suddenly become a national story. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he ends up in the dugout for the Nationals, but no one has reached out to him.
We’ve got a big ol’ batch of speculation here, which admittedly has been a nice distraction from all the playoff drama and Joe Maddon’s parade of relievers.
Ripken’s preference is to run an organization, to be the man in charge. He’d love to follow the same path as Nolan Ryan in Texas, but without the power struggle.
Being part of an ownership group isn’t an option at this time. Ripken certainly has become more receptive to the idea of managing, but he never stated that he’d refuse to pick up the phone if a general manager called him. He hadn’t gone into hiding.
Again, he’s always been willing to listen.
My guess is his appearance at Nationals Park, where he hung out with general manager Mike Rizzo, got the rumor mill churning. And there’s an opening in D.C. with Davey Johnson’s “retirement,” if that’s what we’re calling it.
Here’s another guess: Most Orioles fans would rather chew glass or whatever falls out of Dustin Pedroia’s beard than see Ripken in a Nationals uniform. But the Orioles aren’t a fit. They already have a manager and the team isn’t for sale.
They can’t scratch that itch.
Ripken doesn’t want to be a coach. He doesn’t want to ride buses in the minors. Up to this point, he hasn’t wanted to serve as an instructor. He still doesn’t want to be the official scorer.
I won’t predict whether Ripken gets a managing job, but I’d expect the Nationals to contact him while also considering Randy Knorr and Matt Williams, among others. They respect his baseball knowledge, his work ethic, his pedigree. It makes sense to consider him despite the fact that he’s never managed or coached at any level.
If Ripken is hired, could he convince brother Bill to join his staff? I’ve always believed that Bill would be outstanding in that capacity. I’m told that the Orioles tried a few years ago, but couldn’t talk him into it.
OK, so much for being brief ...