Manager Phil Regan sat down in his office at 1:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, pen in hand, desk cleaned off, ready to write Cal Ripken's name onto an Orioles lineup card for the shortstop's 2,131st straight game.
But Regan had a problem: He didn't have any of the special lineup cards created for events such as this one, with five carbons to make six copies. The AL office had given him only one.
For more than two hours, then, Orioles media relations director John Maroon tried contacting league officials, searching for another lineup card. Two extras were located, and finally, a little after 4 p.m., Regan drew the cap off a black pen, the word Maryland written across its cap, and filled in the names.
Anderson. Alexander. Palmeiro. Bonilla.
Regan filled out the rest of the card, bench players and relief pitchers, and as he had done Tuesday, he wrote in the names of the four starters who weren't pitching last night. Something that Regan, as with other major-league managers, doesn't usually do. "That way," he said, "their names will be in the Hall of Fame, too."
He completed the card and signed his name, and then looked over the lineup. There was no dot over the I in Ripken's name, something that Regan typically omits. But this time, the manager pressed down with the pen, completing the letter.
The copies are for Ripken, California Angels manager Marcel Lachemann, the Hall of Fame, the American League, the Babe Ruth Museum. And one for Regan.
Before Tuesday night's record-tying game, he went to home plate and handed his lineup to crew chief Larry Barnett. Regan thought the umpires were nervous, anxious to see that the event and the lineup cards were handled correctly.
As they were standing at home plate, former Orioles manager Earl Weaver, on the field to throw out the first ball, went to home plate to hug Barnett. After Weaver left, the umpire turned to Regan and said, "You know he wasn't always that way."
Barnett looked down and sorted through the lineup cards and quickly realized there were only five.
"Hey, Phil," he said, "one's missing."
Regan replied: "I have my copy."
He plans to send the lineup cards from games No. 2,130 and 2,131 to his daughter, for preservation. "You think of all the great managers who could've had this opportunity," said Regan. "To me, this is really big."