Cal Ripken Jr., who never got to the point of interviewing for the Washington Nationals' managerial job, reiterated Friday that he isn't lobbying for a position at this time.
Speaking at the third annual Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation College Basketball Tip-Off at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, Ripken said his name being linked to the Nationals was "probably is a little bit media created."
"People ask me, ‘Do you want to get back into baseball, do you feel the urge to get back into baseball?’ And I just answer the question honestly,” he said.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said in an interview on ESPN 980's The Sports Fix on Thursday that he and Ripken agreed that the timing wasn't right for the Hall or Fame former Oriole to manager the Nats.
“No, you know, we didn’t interview Cal,” Rizzo said. “We had a mutual decision that it wasn’t the right time for Cal. Cal is a guy I know very very well, I respect a lot. I’ve had a lot of candid conversations over the last couple years with him. He’s been at a lot games here and has sat with me a few times. And he’s got great baseball acumen. But we mutually agreed that this just wasn’t the right time or place for him.”
The Nationals, who went 86-76 and missed the playoffs this season, hired Matt Williams to be their new manager. The Cincinnati Reds filled their managerial vacancy by promoting pitching coach Bryan Price. The Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers are still in the interviewing process for their openings.
Ripken distanced himself from the game after retiring in 2001, spending more time with his family and working as President and CEO of Ripken Baseball. he's said recently that he's now more open to considering other opportunities with his kids in college.
“I’ve been making a lot of different choices and I’m happy with those choices,” he said. “I’m not in it for hypotheticals. I kind of live more in the real world and look at real opportunities. I’m only saying that I’m smart enough to listen if opportunities come my way, because they have. ...
“I have no strategy to be a manager. I simply said that I have been asked to interview before within the last 12 or 13 years,” Ripken also said. “I would say no, it’s not the right time to consider that. All I said is that, at this time in my life, I might consider it.”
Though some fans would like to see Ripken in an Orioles jersey again, he sounds open to taking on a role with another organization.
“I guess in an ideal sense you would want to see me in an Oriole uniform the whole time,” Ripken said. “I don’t think I would put it that way. I was a player, I played here and had a wonderful career, and I live here. I love the Orioles very much, but at the same time, you’re thinking at the next phase of your life, ‘What does that offer to you?’”
Ripken also gave an update on his mother, Vi, who was the victim of an attempted carjacking Oct. 16. She was able to scare off the thief, who was later apprehended, but the incident was reminiscent of when she was kidnapped at gunpoint in July 2012 before being released unharmed about 24 hours later.
Cal Ripken Jr. said there have been some leads in the investigation and that he trusts the authorities in their efforts.
"She’s doing miraculously well, unbelievably well. I don’t know if each one of us would think about the things she’s been through and react in the same fashion,” he said. “I am concerned, but I take my concern from her. She tells us that we are more concerned than she is.”