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I believe utility infielder Luis Lopez said it best when, upon signing another minor league contract with the Orioles, he uttered the immortal line: "I have returned."

Or maybe it was Howie Clark.

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Anyway, I've returned to blogging after taking a few days to recharge my batteries. And not the ones in my laptop.

I was going over some of your comments and laughed when I read that Tom D. assumes he doesn't make as much money as I do.

That's too bad. And a bit alarming, considering that I'm one credit card bill away from living in a cardboard box.

It could be worse. I could have bet football over the weekend, which would have made me 1-3 and eating out of a dumpster. behind the local Safeway.

At least I made the right call in the Eagles game. I knew they would win. I also knew they wouldn't cover.

Want a safer bet? Cal Ripken will receive enough votes to be elected to the Hall of Fame tomorrow.

Run with it.

He won't be a unanimous choice, but I wouldn't fret over it. Neither was Babe Ruth. Or Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio...

I could go on and on.

Was there actually a debate over Cy Young?

Anyway, Ripken is an obvious choice, if not a unanimous one. He'll go into the Hall with Tony Gwynn, as it should be.

Mark McGwire will be excluded this year, as it should be.

I still remember being in Atlanta during Ripken's final season. He received a standing ovation before every at-bat, and naturally, he hit a home run late in his last game. One Braves writer just threw his hands in the air and said, "I don't believe it."

If you spent enough time watching Ripken, you believed it.

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You also ended up re-writing a lot of game stories that year.

I'm convinced that if he had gotten to the plate one more time in his final game with the Orioles, he would have hit a grand slam. But Brady Anderson swung through a high fastball with the count full, and the game was over.

So was Ripken's career.

And I feel extremely lucky to have witnessed so much of it.

I'll have more on this subject later. And I'd love to hear some of your stories.

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