By Dean Jones Jr.
The Baltimore Sun
10:50 AM EST, January 16, 2014
A new series on MLB Network, "My Most Memorable Game," debuts tonight at 9 p.m. with Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. talking about a notable game from his career.
Anyone want to guess which one he'll be discussing?
OK, so it's not surprising that the Iron Man will talk about the game against the California Angels on Sept. 6, 1995 at Camden Yards -- the night he broke Lou Gehrig's record by playing in his 2,131st straight game. But it should still be an interesting show for Orioles fans.
Ripken talks about several topics during the hourlong interview, according to a news release from MLB Network, including his emotions leading up to and during the record-breaking game, being linked to Gehrig in history, the criticism he faced during the streak, the closest he came to missing a game before breaking the record, and the mentality needed to accomplish the feat.
The interview with Ripken was filmed in Cooperstown, N.Y., in July 2013, according to the release.
Bob Costas and Tom Verducci will co-host the "My Most Memorable Game" series, which continues throughout the offseason with John Smoltz, Ozzie Smith, Bob Gibson, Johnny Bench and Tom Glavine as each discusses a signature game in his career.
Highlights from the conversation with Ripken -- courtesy of MLB Network -- include:
On where his 2,131st game ranks in his career:
To me, the best feeling I’ve ever had on a baseball field is catching the last out of the World Series. Fulfillment, gratification, part of the dream, it all floods to you at once. The best human moment has to be September 6, 1995. I would have rather had it been about the team going for a pennant, but as it turns out, we fell out of the race and it was all about celebration and maybe linking current history with past history.
On criticism he faced leading up to breaking the streak:
I was proud of the fact that I could play all those games. I was proud of the fact that in order to do that you have to be responsible, you have to be willing to come out there. ... I think the only part about the streak that bothered me ... is that [fans] said it was a selfish obsession. It wasn’t. It was actually the opposite. I was giving up a little bit of me for the sake of the challenge of today because that’s how I was brought up.
On what he felt the morning after he tied Gehrig’s record:
There was a lot of pressure starting to build up. I never felt the pressure in the streak itself because that wasn’t my goal. And then all of a sudden there was this celebration and there was this set time for this to happen, and all of a sudden, you felt like you had a responsibility to get to the finish line. Once the tying game was over, it was a foregone conclusion that ... the record-breaking game would come, so there was a little sense of relief. I was worn out. I was trying to give as much as I can to that process. Mentally and emotionally, I was a little worn down.
On running around the field to thank the fans after breaking the streak:
It was a World Series-sort of atmosphere in that game. All of a sudden ... you start to see some people you know ... This massive celebration became very personal very quickly. As I went around, I wanted to touch as many people as I could…As I went around, the pace got slower and slower and slower, and [I] really started to enjoy that moment.
On making eye contact with his father after breaking the record:
That was the most emotional part of the whole thing. ... He wanted to be up in the skybox so I didn’t get a chance to speak any words to him, but when [I] actually caught eyes and looked at him, a million words were going back-and-forth. ... Dad was from the old school, maybe it’s his generation where he didn’t express himself in terms of love out loud. He just showed it. ... Looking up ... it was an expression of love that we communicated in that brief period of time. ... It’s still emotional to this day.
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