Birds Watcher associate writer Steve Katz inserted his view of Cal Ripken Jr. managing somewhere other than Baltimore in his posting this morning. I would tend to agree, although as I’ve said in the past I feel that the Washington Nationals hiring Ripken would be a bit of a publicity stunt, and a petty one at that. In a way it’s kind of ironic that the Baltimore Orioles are in a position where they can’t hire Ripken as the manager. I suppose that as far as managers without any sort of coaching experience go, Ripken would be at the top of the list.
Bearing that in mind, I think the question at hand is whether or not the Orioles and ultimately Orioles’ fans would feel comfortable in effect “surrendering” the tradition or at least a part of the tradition of Cal Ripken Jr. to another city – potentially another city very close by. Perhaps the term surrender is a bit blown out of proportion; however Cal, the streak, the great plays, etc. all went hand-in-hand with Baltimore. Remember the numbers on the warehouse? – on Baltimore’s warehouse, that is. Certainly part of the Ripken lore has to do with the fact that he was a Baltimore-area native, and no other place is going to take that away from Charm City. Furthermore no other team or town is going to take away the fact that he was an Oriole. But again, would that be something that Baltimore could handle?
I would submit that the Orioles shouldn’t sit idly by and wait to find out. No, under no circumstances should they let go of Buck Showalter. That’s not something that should be on the table. However might there be a place for Cal Ripken Jr. within the Orioles organization? Showalter’s working on his 2014 coaching staff as we speak; is it possible that perhaps a slot might open up in some manner? I’m not saying that they should dump one of their coaches in favor of Ripken either, however one might think that there has to be a place for Cal somewhere within the organization. The Orioles have found places within the organization for the likes of Brady Anderson, Mike Deveraux, etc. Why not Cal?
Am I suggesting that Ripken could manage the Orioles sometime in the future? Yes, I think that might be a decent assumption. (And we’ve all heard the rumors about him one day owning the team.) But ultimately I think the O’s would do a disservice to the fans, and to Cal Ripken Jr. himself if they didn’t at least see if he was interested in a position within the organization. Obviously if another team offers him something better the Orioles can only do so much. But I suppose that on a rare moment of emotion, I’m saying that the Orioles shouldn’t allow a piece of their history to simply become a part of another franchise.