A memorable special on Cal’s most memorable game and another look at replay

Maybe crying in baseball is sometimes OK.

I didn’t exactly need to reach for a paper towel, but I got a little misty-eyed last night watching that MLB Network special on Cal Ripken’s most memorable game. Yep, I’ll admit it.

It was a tremendous special about the night of Sept. 6, 1995 when Ripken played in consecutive game No. 2,131 to pass Lou Gehrig and become the game’s all-time Ironman.

Watching Ripken talk about his parents and watching him watch his dad, who died less than four years later, was pretty emotional and special.

It was the same, of course, for Ripken himself, who teared up watching the video. How could he not, now looking back and his dad is no longer here? What a wonderful moment and program last night. I’m sure it’s going to air many more times, so be sure to watch it if you have the chance. According to the network’s Web site, the show will air again at 2 p.m. today and 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Host Bob Costas asked Ripken about that night and if it was, in fact, his most memorable game.

“It depends how you look at it,” Ripken said. “To me the best feeling I’ve ever had on a baseball field was catching the last out of the World Series. Fulfillment, gratification, part of a dream - it all floods to you at once. The best human moment has to be Sept. 6, 1995.”

For me, a neat moment was when they showed some of the 2,131 postgame ceremony and Joe DiMaggio was speaking about Cal and Gehrig. You could see Cal Sr. in the background and the pride he had, just beaming hearing one of the all-time greats talk about his son. That was awesome.

It was both wonderful and a little sad to hear the great voice of Chuck Thompson from that night and also see Cal Sr. and Earl Weaver on the field. So sad they are gone, but how special Baltimore baseball has been over the years with men like that wearing the O’s colors.

Transitioning now to present day for a moment. It was a little surprising to read some comments yesterday that were not real positive about the replay system we’ll see in baseball in 2014.

Sure, it is not a perfect system and some calls will still be missed. But the game has taken big steps to eliminate poor calls - calls that can have game-changing and sometimes pennant race-changing impact.

In this excellent article on replay from ESPN’s Jayson Stark, he said baseball officials expect most reviews to be completed in around a minute and some may take a minute and a half.

He also wrote that baseball expects to continue tweaking the replay system over a three-year period until it settles on the best possible system.

This all sounds positive to me. I’m sure there will be some problem areas and things in the process that need tweaking but I like what we heard yesterday and look forward to seeing this at work during the 2014 season.

In my opinion, the sport of baseball got better yesterday.

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