Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. still hasn’t been contacted about interviewing for a managing job next season despite the continuing speculation that he will return to the dugout.
Ripken, currently working the National League Championship Series for TBS, remains open to the idea. Nothing has changed in that regard.
“When I do these things, I get asked that kind of question and I try to answer as honestly as I can,” Ripken said during a phone interview with MASNsports.com. “I’ve always said it was important for me to be there for my kids. Once they got to the point where they’re out of the house, then I have to look at this as another stage of my life, and I’d be open to considering it.
“The funny part is the idea that I’m soliciting a job through the media. It has taken on a life of it’s own, and I’m approaching it the same way I always did. A managing job is interesting to me only because of the operations that happen on the field, which goes back to my playing days.
“Since I’ve been retired and been in the business world, there’s been a big learning curve. It’s been fun.”
Ripken said he’s been contacted in the past by teams gauging his interest in managing. He also said it would be “strange” to wear a uniform other than the Orioles.
“It’s never been the right time because I was in a period of my life when I valued being available to my kids,” he said. “It wouldn’t be right to go through the (interview) process just out of curiosity and not be willing to take the position if it were offered. Now, I’d have a little deeper conversation.
“I’m in the next phase of my life and I could be open to a lot of things. But by no means am I lobbying or soliciting. It’s just that I’m in front of the media and people ask me.”
Ripken worked the playoffs last year for TBS, did some games during the 2013 regular season and is back in the booth for the National League Division Series and NLCS.
“I’m still very inexperienced,” he said before boarding a flight to St. Louis. “I don’t have a lot of reps in the booth, but thank goodness I’m with two real pros. Ernie Johnson is fantastic and Ron Darling has a wealth of information, and he’s been very helpful to me.
“I feel a lot better than I did last year. You need to know when to talk and what everyone else’s role is. There’s a rhythm that takes place during a broadcast. So many things happen over the course of a game that dictates where you’re going, and I’m learning all those things. I feel like I have a little better understanding of what’s go on, and the games have really been exciting.
“Every once in a while, while I’m talking and I’m getting directions coming in my ear (from the production truck), the first tendency is I want to stop. Then I realize that I can’t stop. There’s just a lot of things I need to improve on and need to understand. But I’m having a good time being at the ballpark. I get to sit there and watch every pitch and I get a chance to talk to the managers, which I really enjoy. It puts you back in an inside-baseball mode.”
Ripken was in a meeting before Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles when he received word that his mother, Vi, had been held up at gunpoint in a bank parking lot in Aberdeen. The suspect, who’s now in custody, demanded her car. Vi Ripken, 75, activated a key alarm, and the man backed off and walked away.
“She’s doing well,” said Cal Ripken. “I think in many ways you want to close your eyes and make it go away. It’s disturbing to all of us. I think it’s less disturbing to her.
“She wants everybody to know that she’s OK, she’s doing fine.”
Vi Ripken was abducted from her home on June 25, 2012. She was returned unharmed 24 hours later, and no arrests have been made in the case.
“It is a little unnerving, two of these things happening to one person, period. And then it happens to your mom,” said Cal Ripken. “But she’s a strong lady.”
Ripken still had to concentrate on the the game and his duties in the broadcast booth.
“It was really hard when I didn’t have all the information, but then I was able step out and collect the information,” he said. “The biggest thing is you want to make sure your mom is OK. Once I stepped out of the room and got the information, I knew she was in good hands, she was OK. Then it was just a matter of focusing back on what I was doing. But it wasn’t easy and it’s not easy now.”