O’s managerial search: Ripken says “I’m interested…sure”

June 16, 2010 | Drew Forrester

In the early stages of the O’s managerial search, the names being floated are those of men who have done it before and have some kind of track record.

Bobby Valentine breezed into town last Friday and chatted long enough with Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail to half-dismiss himself from the list of candidates.

Eric Wedge met with MacPhail last week.  There’s been no public disclosure from either side on how the interview went, but that’s probably because MacPhail is still writing down notes from the meeting.  It takes him a while to complete a task, if you haven’t figured that out by now.

So who’s next?

Here’s the name of someone who told me today he’d be interested in the job.

Billy Ripken.

If you want to hear the entire Ripken interview – where he says, “sure, I’d be interested in the job” – here it is.

Lots of folks have tossed Billy’s name around over the last three weeks.  Listen to any talk show or read the internet and you’ll hear and read a lot of clamoring for Ripken and his perceived no-nonsense style.

I’ll admit this much:  The Orioles should interview Billy Ripken.

Will they?  Probably not.

My guess – and I base this mainly on what I’ve learned about Andy MacPhail – is that the Orioles probably feel Billy Ripken isn’t sophisticated enough to manage the club.

He doesn’t have big league or even minor league managerial experience.

And the MacPhail-Angelos duo probably feels like he’d be overmatched in the major leagues.

Rubbish…

This isn’t brain surgery.  It’s baseball.  It’s getting the respect of 25 players in the locker room.  It’s understanding their individual strengths and weaknesses and how to use them properly.  Or, in some cases, maybe NOT using them.

Billy Ripken deserves consideration.

I’m not saying he deserves to be the manager.

But he deserves an interview.

And who knows?  Maybe he DOES deserve a crack at managing the club.

As I’ve said over the last three weeks, I firmly believe the next Orioles manager has to bleed a little orange and black.  I know we heard that line from Peter Angelos a decade ago when he canned the team’s radio broadcaster, but in this case, it actually does matter.  The manager of this team going forward has to hurt a little with every loss because their heritage and tradition as a player is linked to the organization’s successful times.

Rick Dempsey, Billy Ripken and B.J. Surhoff all fit that profile.

In most cases, I’m not a fan of having to hire someone from within the organizational family, but with the downward spiral of the Orioles organization over the last 13 years, the time has come for the franchise to embrace its heritage and bring someone on board who has more reason than an outsider to oversee this club’s return to glory.

Dempsey is NOT going to be the manager.

Dempsey, in fact, isn’t even getting an interview.

That has caused some strife in the front office, because MacPhail has been steadfast in his denial for a Dempsey interview.  Sources in The Warehouse say MacPhail essentially offered Angelos a “it’s him or me” ultimatum weeks ago when Dempsey’s name came up as a possible interim replacement for the jettisoned Dave Trembley.

With Andy MacPhail here, Rick Dempsey will not be considered for the open managerial slot.

Fair enough.  Dempsey has made his own bed here in Baltimore.  If he’s done enough damage to keep himself out of the running, that’s his fault.

But Billy Ripken was a good soldier when he played and he’s continued to be an ambassador for the organization even though he’s never been hired or retained by the club since his retirement from the game.

He was part of the Team USA coaching staff a couple of years back and in some ways, fits the bill of the “lunch pail player” who turns out to be a decent manager.  See the likes of Terry Francona, Mike Scioscia, Joe Girardi, Ron Gardenhire and Jim Leyland as prime examples.

Maybe Billy Ripken isn’t erudite enough for Andy MacPhail.

He might use the f-word more than MacPhail would prefer.

And since he never played for the Cubs, Andy might not think he’s worthy.

Who knows what MacPhail thinks?  He doesn’t really speak to the media anymore.

But I know what Billy Ripken thinks.

He’d be interested in the job.

And since Bobby Valentine evidently isn’t, why not add Ripken’s name to the list of guys who should be considered?

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