Cal Ripken Jr. said today that talks with the Orioles about a future front office role are ongoing and progressing nicely, but he wouldn't commit to them being finalized before the 2011 season.
"I love the fact that it's an open exploration and we're talking," Ripken said in a phone interview with The Baltimore Sun and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. "It really is. My goal truly was to be available to [my son] Ryan, and to my kids. But you start to look at it, it's a short period of time and he's out the door and both are off to college. The talks are generating more not on the short, short term, but actually what the long term will look like. There's really no rush. They are ongoing, and they are progressing pretty nicely."
The Hall of Famer said he has discussed a "secondary and advisory" position with owner Peter Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.
"We've had had some talks about learning and advising and being available when you can," he said. "It's sort of a secondary position and an advisory position. There's a fairness on both sides – how much can you give, can you be involved as much as you need to be. Some of those issues needed to be looked at. In general, the concept of transitioning is a healthy thing. We've talked about different advisory positions and ways to transition. Nothing has been set."
Ripken said he meets with Angelos or MacPhail regularly to discuss things.
"It can be two or three times a week if schedules work out that way," Ripken said. "I talk to Mr. Angelos about a number of subjects besides the Orioles. Sometimes I have a chance to have dinner with him on that regard. If I'm traveling out of the circle or someplace at that moment, it could be a week to 10 days. We haven't set a real urgent timetable. I'm just satisfied we're talking. I guess I'm more of a planner than somebody who would say, 'Let's just jump in and see what happens.' "
One thing you can rule out is Ripken becoming the Orioles' next manager.
"I couldn't make that happen right now," he said. "In some ways, if you had a magic wand and everything could work out, it would be interesting to consider and think about. But I value being around the next two years too much to jump into that right now."
Ripken spoke one day before he will break ground on a youth-sized replica of Memorial Stadium on the stadium's original site as part of the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation's "Swing for the Future" campaign.
The foundation's goal is to develop multiple ballparks in Baltimore City – future sites include Park Heights and Patterson Park – and take that model across the country.
The one on the site of Memorial Stadium will be an artificial turf field that will accommodate various sports. The project will be done in partnership with the Y of Central Maryland, and the goal is to have it completed before winter.
The Ripken Foundation will hold a news conference Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at the Memorial Stadium site, which is expected to be attended by Cal and Bill Ripken, Orioles great Brooks Robinson, Baltimore Colts great Art Donovan and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
"The whole concept of the projects is we started out really building programs and reaching kids on a one-on-one sort of way, and you realize that all the great programs you have, they still have to have safe, good places to play," Ripken said. "You realize that some of them were limited doing the programming. We needed to put the money in and find the places."
As for the significance of the Memorial Stadium site, Ripken said: "You want to look at areas of need and where we can do the projects. We had a couple of projects in the works outside of Baltimore, and we really wanted to get into Baltimore and say, 'Look, let's start here'. The Memorial Stadium site became an opportunity, and I said, 'This must be meant for us to do it.' It was so important to me in a symbolic way. I thought, 'If we can make it happen on this spot, this is what I want to do.' "