Some of the longest and loudest ovations heard at Camden Yards are those reserved for Cal Ripken Jr.
There was another today when the Hall of Famer threw out the ceremonial first pitch on the 15th anniversary of his playing in consecutive game number 2,130 to tie Lou Gehrig’s record.
“I keep milking it for whatever it’s worth. It seems like time has gone by really fast. I only realize it when I look at the age of my kids. In many other ways it seems like that whole night was just a couple of years ago,” Ripken said moments after throwing a heater right down the middle.
“Fifteen years, we all get old and time goes by much faster when you leave the game than it did when you played it.
“I have a special memory and special view of it. It was a wonderful human moment, a wonderful family moment. It was a great baseball moment. But the farther you get removed from it, in some ways it feels like maybe it wasn’t you that did it.”
But he did break the so called unbreakable record. Some of the most special images of the time involve the interaction then of Cal Junior and Senior.
“I got a great charge out of seeing him on the screen today. I looked up and saw my dad on the big screen. That evokes emotion and joy.
“I had many moments during that celebration when I connected with him. When he died, it felt like he may have left you. But I found out since then, everything we do with kids and everything we do with our minor league teams and stuff, he’s right there along with us.”
Ripken continues to have ongoing discussions about a possible future position with the Orioles. He was asked today if Buck Showalter’s positive impact makes him want to rejoin the club even more.
“Buck turns on my baseball brain. I had a chance to sit with him when he came to Aberdeen. Our conversations may not be fascinating to most people as we talked about bunt plays and cutoffs and relays.
“I always thought Buck was one of the best baseball guys I ever had a chance to talk to. The answer is yes, kind of, but I still have my timetable and want to be there until my kids go off to college. There were rumors early in the season, but I still value the flexibility and time I have now and I wouldn’t have that if you came back to the big league scene.
“I appreciate the openness from Mr. Angelos and Andy MacPhail. What I was looking at, is a bridge or oppurtunity when my kids are off to school. There are no right or wrong solutions or answers, but the expiration and possibilities continue to be talked about. I’m very comfortable with the timetable right now.”
In an unrelated note sort of involving another O’s legend, The Brooks Robinson Replica Jerseys presented by Real Street Staffing, originally scheduled to be given out July 17, are now available for pick up at Oriole Park.
The jerseys were delayed due to a vendor error, but are now available at the Fan Assistance Center located in the Warehouse. Fans who received a voucher for the jersey on the originally scheduled giveaway night may bring it to any Orioles home game, or stop by the Fan Assistance Center weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, fans can call 888-848-BIRD.