By Peter Schmuck
The Baltimore Sun
8:53 PM EDT, September 6, 2012
Several of the most prominent players on the current Orioles team have made it a point to attend each of the sculpture unveilings in the plaza behind center field, even though those ceremonies conflict with their pregame routines.
Center fielder Adam Jones said that isn't even an issue, even on the day the Orioles opened a four-game series against the New York Yankees with significant playoff implications.
“It definitely adds to it,'' Jones said. "You’re honoring one of the greatest players in this franchise. That’s always a great thing when you can do that and we have one more with Brooks coming up. I think you tie that into the importance of this series. Look at the whole weekend. You’ve got Cal’s ceremony. You’ve got a great weekend of baseball, and then you’ve got Monday night – the season opener for football with the Ravens."
Catcher Matt Wieters was not able to attend Thursday's unveiling, but he saw the particular significance of Ripken's ceremony in relation to the showdown with the Yankees before Ripken articulated it.
“It’s big because the last time we were able to be in this position, Cal was playing for the team,’’ Wieters said. “It’s something where he sort of set the standard for being an Orioles baseball player, showing up to play every day and just going out there and competing. I think that’s kind of the mentality this team has taken this year. Every day is its own day. Just show up and be ready to go.”
Even young Manny Machado, whose arrival in the majors is a bit reminiscent of Cal's, said that the statues behind center field serve as an inspiration to the young players on the team and that he dreams of becoming a great Oriole and being immortalized in bronze out there someday.
“Oh yeah, of course, that’s everybody’s dream,’’ Machado said. “Every player in this clubhouse wants to be up there with their plaque and their statue up there.”