From the “you people never cease to amaze me file” — now we’re bashing Cal Ripken Jr. for something he said…

October 08, 2012 | Drew Forrester

As I sit here in the press box (well, the press “lounge”, where the Baltimore media sit and watch the game) at OPACY and prepare to follow Game 2 of the Orioles-Yankees, I browse through four days worth of email to see if I missed anything important before filing a bunch of them away in the trash folder.

Eleven different people, most of them either late Friday or over the weekend, reached out to me about a topic so near and dear to their hearts that one writer even said, “If I saw (him) in person, I’d tell him to go f— himself.  Right then and there.”

I’ve seen other complete maniacs over at Orioles Hangout offer asinine comments like, “Cal is now dead to me” and “There’s no way he should have said that about Brooks just one week after his ceremony in Baltimore.”

If you’re still in the dark, let me enlighten you.  And for those of you offended by what Cal Ripken Jr. said last Friday night on national TV, pull up a chair and I’ll teach you a thing or two, also.

During last Friday’s Orioles/Rangers playoff game, Cal Jr. remarked that Adrian Beltre is the best defensive third baseman he’s ever seen.  He quickly added, “Sorry, Brooksie”.

Firestorm started.

Way to go Cal.

The eleven emails that reached me since then have all basically said the same thing:  “Not only is Cal wrong, but he shouldn’t ever dismiss Brooks Robinson like that on national TV.”

For starters, do you people not understand what it means to say, “I think”??

When you say, “I think Adrian Beltre is the best defensive 3rd baseman I’ve ever seen” that simply means you are stating YOUR opinion on the matter.  Do you think you’re right?  Of course you do.  But does it make you a bad guy if you believe, for example, that Led Zeppelin’s “In through the out door” was better than AC/DC’s “Back in Black”?  I don’t think so.  It just means you have a belief.  (By the way, I’m going with Zeppelin on that one.)

“Cal is now dead to me…” wrote one nitwit at Orioles Hangout.  “Dead to me…”  Really, for what, being a draft dodger or getting caught selling dope or firing a gun into his leg at a nightclub and going to jail?  Oh, I see, Cal is “dead” to you because he offered an opinion contrary to your own.  OK then.

No wonder our country is so F’ed up.

Let me continue this mini-tutoring session by saying this, too:  Cal is not very good as a live in-game TV analyst.  Bill Ripken was MUCH better as a baseball player than Cal is at doing this kind of stuff we’re watching now on TBS.  I know Cal is a great baseball mind.  He forgot more about baseball than me, you and everyone in our respective neighborhoods will ever know.  But that doesn’t mean he can translate that on the air to an informative, interesting live TV broadcast.  It’s also worth mentioning that John Smoltz isn’t very good at it, either.  It’s not easy to do, mind you.  Those two just happen to be two excellent ex-ballplayers who are just barely-above-minor-leaguers when it comes to analyzing the action in a live environment.

So, while I don’t find Cal very captivating on TV, I don’t have any problem with his right to state an opinion.  If he believes Beltre is better than Brooks, I’ll listen to his reasoning.

All the stat geeks will bring out the numbers about how many errors Brooks made as it relates to Beltre…and those statistics clearly reflect that Brooks was superior IN THE ERRORS department.  But that’s it, huh?  We’re just going to say “Brooks made less errors than Beltre, therefore he’s better” and leave it at that?  Fair enough.  You can do that.  But astute baseball people who know the game have their opinion and are welcome to broadcast it.

And this silly notion that Ripken somehow should have backed off from saying something to dismiss the quality of Brooks’s career because of his statue ceremony last week…it’s…well, it’s just dumb to say that.

I can hear the question on national TV now as play-by-play man Ernie Johnson tries to fill a dead minute or two last Friday.

“Hey, Cal, as we sit here and watch the Rangers, Adrian Beltre is having a terrific season both at the plate and in the field.  As a guy who knows a thing or two about playing third base, how would you rate Beltre’s career?”

“Well, you know Ernie, I’d love to answer that question for the millions of people out there.  But,  you know, the guy we’d ultimately compare Beltre to is Brooks Robinson, the ex-Oriole, and he was just in Baltimore for the unveiling of his statue and it’s probably better if I don’t give you my opinion because I don’t want to offend Brooks while he’s still enjoying his special moment in Baltimore.  Maybe next season I’ll answer that one.”

So, let me get this straight.  We ONLY want to hear Cal Ripken’s opinion when it somehow doesn’t ruffle OUR feathers.  OK, that makes sense.

What if, last night, Cal Jr. would have said, “I’ll tell you what, you can have Robinson Cano on your team and I’ll take Adam Jones.  Cano is a nice player and all, but Jones is a much better hitter and just a better player to have, even though they play different positions.”

You would have been OK with that one, right?

Of course.

It’s amazing how easy it is to wind you folks up.  I’m not suggesting Cal would do that.  I don’t think he knows how to play the “heel” role.

But it just takes one comment from a broadcaster and your whole world is turned upside down.

Tonight, do yourself a favor and watch the game for what it is.  Don’t listen to the broadcasters.  Pay them no attention.  Just sit back, relax and watch it all unfold.

That said, if these three decide to start pointing out blemishes in Manny Machado’s game, I’m gonna throw something at the TV I’ll be watching here in the “press box” at Camden Yards.

24 Comments For This Post

  1. unitastoberry Says:

    Much to to about nothing. But here in Baltimore if you don’t say Brooks is the best defensive 3rd basemen of all time then your going to take some heat. I saw Brooksie play many many times. I saw him field foul balls for fun in the coaches box and he could have thrown the runner out. Ask Lee May about Brooks. Love you Calvin but you blew it on this one.

  2. Matt Duggins Says:

    Much to to? You lost me.

  3. Robert Says:

    When one walks on water, as many here in town believe Saint Cal does, then he needs to be careful “dissing” a local legend. Point of fact, Brooks earned many more gold gloves than Beltre has so far. Cheers.

  4. Ralph Says:

    Cal said what he said, that’s cool. Cal is stating an opinion based on knowledge and experience. You said that a guy who backed giving millions to banks to keep them from failing, had corporate profits go up in his tenure, and is trying to get out of wars which profit a communist country (our loans from China) is a “communist.” Now when a guy says a remark that is that disturbing and stupid, now that’s kind of weird, opinion or not. The guy running against the Commie in office who CREATED gov mandated health-care programs must be an even greater Commie. Plus the guy running against the guy in office got out of Vietnam service by being on Missionary France. So he falls under the “draft dodger” label you mentioned as being an egregious offense. You must love THAT guy. As always Drew thanks so much for reading and responding and thanks for thanking me for listening. (DF: I wouldn’t vote for either of these goofs who are running. You’d make a better President, I assume. The mere fact that both parties in this country can’t send anyone better to the mound shows how wrecked we are…these two are “our best”, huh? Sad, sad, sad…)

  5. RJ Says:

    Cal blew it, Period! He threw Brooksie under the proverbial bus, imho, and he should’ve just kept his freakin mouth shut!

  6. David B Says:

    The following will always be true: Brooks Robinson > Cal Ripken Jr.

    Brooks never charged me for his autograph. Brooks is one of the best role models around.

    Cal talks too much on the MLB broadcast and, quite frankly, is poor at the job. Shut up Cal and watch the game. Or better yet, let US watch the game without babbling throughout the braodcast.

  7. sal Says:

    drew your a goof for being too neutral and not taken a side

  8. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    And what the hell was wrong about a person getting out of the Vietnam war, doesn’t anybody remember what a joke that war was. And Drew, by you not voting in this election makes YOU the biggest GOOF. (DF: I would vote for someone if they deserved my vote. Neither one of them does.)

  9. Tom Says:

    I admit I was offended by the comment. As a longtime O’s watcher, Brooksie was and will always be my favorite Oriole. Cal had no reason to bring him into the discussion. He should have simply said “Beltre is the best glove at third – period. From listening to Cal, it seems like he is going out of his way to dispel the obvious – that he is rooting for the Orioles. Did TBS mandate that he appear neutral? If so, he should have told them to stuff the damn job! Does he really need the money that bad? Enough to alienate Oriole fans currently reveling in this historic run? Go back to the studio Cal and stay out of the broadcast booth.

  10. George Evans Says:

    Brooks is the Greatest fielding third baseman ever to play the game and we were fortunate that he did that as an Oriole for his entire career. That being said, Cal is an IDIOT for making that unsolicited remark. Even given the chance to recant he further buried himself. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Cal not only for his play but for what he has done for the community. I lost respect for Mr. Ripken

  11. John Novak Says:

    What really upsets me about all of this is that Cal chose to bring all of this up, in the top of the first inning, of the first playoff game for the Baltimore Orioles in 15 years.

    TBS was showing the graphic of the Texas Rangers defense, Cal said that Beltre had recently came back from an injury and is an integral part of the Rangers team. Cal then chose to add, UNSOLICITED, that Beltre is the best 3rd baseman he has ever seen play the game.

    Smoltz and Johnson were obviously stunned, and one of them asked, “The best 3rd baseman you hav ever seen play the game?”, and Cal chose to bring Brooks into his monologue, and give over 5 reasons as to why Beltre is better than Brooks (better range, stronger arm, makes everything look easy…).

    Cal later in the game, again unsolicited, had to criticize Brooks again when Beltre made a fine defensive play, making a bare handed pickup to throw out of Machado on his bunt later in the game. Cal said something to the effect of “…that’s what I was talking about earlier about Beltre compared to Brooks, Beltre made that play look so easy…”

    Only Cal knows why he chose to blabber at length about his views on Beltre being so much better than Brooks.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? I think we all can agree that Cal’s commentary against Brooks was unnecessary.

  12. NC Orioles Fan Says:

    Maybe if MLB (Bud Selig) had allowed MASN to broadcast the games at our ballpark, we would not have to put up with such broadcast shannigans at TBS. Don’t blame Cal so much but lay blame on Selig for interferring with the MASN’s right to broadcast the Orioles during the playoofs.

  13. Raz_la Says:

    WOW…………….ok, I’m going to get a lot of heat for this, but here goes. First off, I’m not a native Marylander, but I’ve lived here for 20 years, now. Most, if not all of you, will say that disqualifies me from even making this comment, but oh well.

    This is even worse than the whole Baltimore Colts whining that is always going on around here. Irsay’s dead and the Ravens are here………get over it, already.

    The comments written here about what Cal said are just flat out comical. This Town has such an iferiority complex it’s ridiculous. The guy who, basically, saved baseball with the whole 2131 thing is being trashed by his local “fans”. WHAT A FREAKIN’ JOKE YOU PEOPLE ARE!

  14. Rich Says:

    GEEZ … next somebody on here will try to tell me something crazy like Unitas was better than Manning, or something.

  15. Dan Says:

    If Cal has a diferent opinion about 3rd base then the rest of the world that’s OK . But to show his ignorence on national TV while trying to think of interesting things to say in a job ( TV commentator) that he’s not to familiar with is unfortunate.

  16. Brian Says:

    And I guess there’s no greater QB than Johnny Unitas right ? People need to stop with this whole PC BS. So Cal thinks there’s a better 3rd basemen out there so what.

    It’s not as if Brooks was buried the day Cal made the comments. Now that would be bad timing. :)

  17. Over40Don Says:

    Drew, while I was shocked at what Cal said in comparing beltre to any other 3rd baseman that he had seen play and made it clear he included Brooks in the equation, it didn’t make me want something bad to happen to Cal. I think he is nuts though. How many games did he see Brooks play as a kid? I’ll be a lot. How many has he seen Beltre play ? What about Nettles, Scmidt. I think I watched Texas in most games from the last 2 World Series. Somehow there is no recollection of spectacular defensive gems from Beltre. Not saying he didn’t make any great plays but they don’t burn any lasting memories in my mind like the Brooks and Nettles did in multi WS games.
    What a lot of posters missed, not all, is that you are 100% RIGHT in that Cal isn’t very good as an analyst and the combined threesome made me ask for McCarver last night ( the win) who is the absolute worst in my opinion.
    Keep up the articles , always fun banter!!!!

  18. Jason Manelli Says:

    I think Cal wanted to prove he wasn’t a total homer to the national audience. He had to know that comment would not be well recieved at home. Drew is right though, it’s an opinion and frankly there is no way to compare players across era’s. It’s really nothing to get upset about. Cal is not in the booth to PR for the Orioles, Brooks or Baltimore.

  19. unitastoberry Says:

    @Raz_la- In case you didn’t notice this is a site for Baltmore sports talk. Thats what goes on here.

  20. justafan Says:

    This only gives the bloggers and the WNST staff something to talk about. Otherwise the content of this conversation is just plain gibberish.

  21. The Armchair QB Says:

    Opinions are like “A-holes” – everybody’s got one! Unfortunately, what this post proves is that many opinions come directly from…..”A-holes”!

  22. Raz_la Says:

    @unitastoberry: thanks for enlightening me………based upon your username, I must’ve struck a nerve with you, so sorry.

  23. Dan Says:

    To bad Carl never saw Brooks play .

  24. Merton from Indianapolis Says:

    Peyton Manning is better then Johnny Who.

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