Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. has spoken before about his interest in returning to a significant role with a major league club. And with Davey Johnson finishing his final season as the Washington Nationals’ manager, some have wondered if Ripken could replace the former Orioles skipper in D.C.
Ripken addressed his interest in managing in television interviews with Comcast SportsNet Washington and Comcast SportsNet Chicago this week, acknowledging that he has “the itch to look into the big league scene.”
“Yeah, I’m feeling the need to apply what I know to the big league level, don’t know how yet,” Ripken said in one of the interviews. “Ideally, you’d want to to it with the Orioles, but you’d have to look at what the opportunities are, at who might be interested in you and who might be not.”
In one interview, Ripken was asked if he would be interested in succeeding Johnson, a former Orioles player and manager who is retiring at the end of this season.
“I’ve been asked to interview for many managing jobs, and I never said yes because I was never serious about it, and I thought it would be wrong to go through that process,” Ripken said. “I haven’t been asked by [the Nationals]. ... I think I would be more curious at this stage in my life than I have been.”
Ripken’s spokesman, John Maroon, said Friday that Ripken has indicated that his desire to get involved in the major league game again in some capacity has grown. But Maroon said Ripken’s interest in any specific job was hypothetical.
“If and when he is approached by a team, I would imagine he would listen and see what comes of that,” Maroon said. “Time will tell.”
During spring training, Ripken said he is interested in pursuing a new challenge now that his youngest child, Ryan is in college.
“It’s always flattering to be thought of in the way I have been thought of, put it that way,” Ripken said then. “And there is a side of me that wants to be challenged in a big league sense, a big league way. What that is, I’m not sure. I did make a choice when I got away from baseball to be there to get my kids off to college. That was my mindset. Now that they are off to college, it could be a time in your life when you think about these things. Don’t know yet.”
For what it's worth, Johnson said in a recent radio interview with 106.7 The Fan in Washington that he isn’t sure Ripken wants to become a manager. The hosts posed the question as a true or false on whether Ripken will ever manage in the big leagues.
“True, if he wants to, but I think he’s got too many other commitments,” Johnson said. “I think he’d rather be an owner."