Sports

Cal Ripken, Jr.: ‘You Could See Me Back in the Big Leagues’

by Chris Lingebach
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Ryan Zimmerman #11 and Jayson Werth #28 of the Washington Nationals talk with Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Orioles player Cal Ripken, Jr. before the start of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Ryan Zimmerman #11 and Jayson Werth #28 of the Washington Nationals talk with Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Orioles player Cal Ripken, Jr. before the start of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - When Cal Ripken’s name was floated about as being in the running to replace Davey Johnson as manager of the Washington Nationals last August, a large portion of the fanbase — which grew up rooting for Ripken in the years D.C. was without a baseball team — understandably had its interest peaked.

There was an element of truth to that rumor, Ripken told Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Tuesday, but not to the extent that he would have considered himself a serious candidate.

“I know there was a bunch of rumors last year that I was up for the running for the Nationals job,” Ripken said on 106.7 The Fan. “There was an element of truth to that, because I know Mike Rizzo, but beyond that I never went through a formal process, so that really wasn’t realistic.

Ripken has given the idea of managing in the Majors further consideration, though, noting the timing hasn’t really worked out up to this point.

“Who knows? If somebody thinks of me that way and the timing is right, you could see me back in the big leagues,” he said.

“When I retired, I wanted desperately to be around my kids – they were 8 and 12 – til they got off to college and got moving,” Ripken explained. “That was my priority. And I thought that if there was a chance to come back to the big leagues, it would be when they were out of the house.

“So the time is out of the house. And there’s a part of me that would like to apply some of the things that I know at the big league level – whether you apply that in the form of a manager – it’s one of the more interesting positions, because really what you learned is between the white lines down there, and would give a chance for you to actually do it.”

Ripken, when questioned, also commented on Major League Baseball’s new home plate collision rule enacted last week — which is on a one-year trial basis — preventing base runners from attempting to jar the ball loose from a position player covering home plate, and catchers from blocking the pathway to home plate without having possession of the ball.

“I’m an advocate of the rule change,” Ripken stated. “I don’t think it makes baseball any less of a game, or makes it soft. I think it’s the right way to go.”

“I think home plate should be looked upon very similar to how second base is looked upon in breaking up a double play,” he explained. “You shouldn’t have the ability to stand straight up and just run into somebody and take somebody out because you can; the object is to score a run, so I think that you gotta make an attempt, you gotta make it a slide, and it’s not fair for the catchers to actually block the plate, really without a ball.”

“I never really thought that that was really a part of the game,” Ripken said earlier. “If I was coming around third base, and made a chance to try to score and I was out by 45 feet, I would just let him tag me.”

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