"I think the key still remains in the young pitching staff and how they're gonna respond, if they respond the same way as they did to [Showalter] towards the end of last year," Ripken said. "There's a lot of reasons for optimism, because we've made some good changes."
One of those changes -- and we'll see if it ends up being a good one -- was the recent signing of 36-year-old designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero. At the event, Ripken got in a playful jab at Guerrero's expense.
"Vlad's about 75 years old now, isn't he?" Ripken joked. "Vlad is amazing. Vlad's got a lot left in his tank."