Did you enjoy the booth atmosphere better than being in the studio the previous year?
Yeah, I think so. In the studio you watch all the games and you watch them really carefully. But you don’t really have a chance to bring a thought to life. Being in the booth, if you see something and you want to give it to the viewer, you can give that special insight.
Sometimes in the studio that insight might be relevant or irrelevant to how the game went. So, you have smaller sound bites in the studio and you have to summarize your thoughts a lot more. When you’re [at] the game, that’s what I paid attention to my whole career, those subtle nuances to the game and how the game played out. So, [being a color commentator] is a good forum to communicate that.
- VIDEO: Cal Ripken Jr. talks about his new book 'Wild Pitch'
- Cal Ripken Jr. through the years [Pictures]
- Cal Ripken Jr. sculpture unveiling [Pictures]
- Baseball players on the move this offseason
- 35th annual OriolesREACH Holiday Party for Kids [Pictures]
- Major League Baseball's winter meetings [Pictures]
See more photos »
It was kind of funny. I felt like all the emphasis was that I had to be careful not to be biased towards the Orioles, and in some cases I think I went too biased for the Yankees. In the end, you’re trying to interpret what’s happening in the actual game, which I think is fascinating. And my awareness started to really come back to me. So hopefully I identified a couple things that people thought were valuable.
A lot of people here kind of raised their eyebrows when you said that Adrian Beltre was the best [defensive] third baseman [during the AL wild-card broadcast]. Have you heard about that in the offseason a little bit?
[Smiles] Well, that’s all in context. It’s born from a belief that the game has gotten better. My dad used to always say that the best players of all eras could play in any era. And your contribution and Brooks [Robinsons’] contribution to defense, other [players] are watching you, they’re adding their own flair to it, [and] I think that ends up making it better.
I was just trying to pay a compliment to Beltre in a way that was appropriate. And I was just looking at the physical skills of a third baseman. So, blurting that out there kind of created a little bit of an issue. If you’re thinking about all the other intangibles and all the things that Brooks brought to third base, you’d be hard-pressed to find a guy better than he was.
Losing Earl Weaver in the offseason, did that make it even more special getting to have all the Orioles Hall of Famers together last year?
Yeah, I mean, I thought it was special, period. But in light of the recent news about Earl, I thought we all felt a certain kinship during that process. We really shared some old memories, and it was great that Earl had a chance [to be a part of it].
Earl’s speech was one of the more emotional ones. He got himself choked up a few times, and that got us all a little choked up. He talked about my dad. So, yeah, in hindsight I’m really glad that he was around for that ceremony.
I see you’re wearing your South Carolina jacket. How is Ryan doing down there? [Cal’s son Ryan is a freshman baseball player for the Gamecocks.]
Ryan is redshirting, so he’s not going to get a chance to play this year. But he keeps his year of eligibility. It’s a very good team down there, and breaking in as a freshman is not easy to do. So, he’s working hard in the weight room and in the batting cages. I know it was a decision where it wouldn’t have been worth getting a few at-bats in the season and then blowing your whole year [of eligibility]. It was a mutual decision that is probably best for him.
Sometimes a situation like this turns out to be the best thing for you. He’s extremely motivated, which I think is a great thing. He’s dealing with it.