It was a good day at Camden Yards. A bright Sunday afternoon game in front of over 28,000 fans. And those fans were treated to an 8-7 victory by the Orioles over the Rays, winning another series since Buck Showalter took over. Even after giving up four homeruns to Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce, the Orioles managed to hold on and win.
Outfielder Corey Patterson had an impressive night, with a homerun and three RBIs. Great baseball being played by the Orioles right now. Buck Showalter has led this team to another series win, and that’s what it’s all about…trying to win every series.
The O’s are now 51-86. With 25 games left, Showalter’s next goal is to avoid a 100-loss season for the Birds. Hopefully, he will accomplish that.
But, one thing that you could not overlook was the celebration of the anniversary of Cal Ripken’s streak. Ripken threw out the ceremonial first pitch to mark the 15th anniversary of the day he tied Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played.
The “Iron Man” did what every baseball player should do, show up and work every day. On September 6, 1995, Ripken did what many thought could never happen, surpass the 56-year-old record of Lou Gehrig and play in his 2,131st consecutive game. I remember watching on TV what fans would later vote as “Major League Baseball’s “Most Memorable Moment” in MLB history” and wishing that I was there live.
And here we are, 15 years later. So, what does baseball have to show everyone since then? Well, even though there have been a lot of memorable moments, the “lack of integrity” cloud hangs over the sport. Before, we never have to worry or wonder about who used performance-enhancing drugs. Now, it’s all that we hear about. Every day, you wonder who will be announced as having a suspension from PEDs. Every time you see a homerun, you wonder “Is that player juicing?” It’s really sad what we have had to witness over the last 15 years. Nearly 200 players have either been in the Mitchell Report, implicated by someone’s testimony, or suspended since baseball introduced it’s new PED’s enforcement policy.
The integrity of the game has taken a big hit. And while all of this has happened, there will always be the one memory that stands out as “pure,” the night Cal Ripken broke the streak. I celebrate it, and I hope that at some point this week, you do as well. Find a video on youtube or buy a copy at the store, and relive that moment. Then, you can truly appreciate just how special baseball really is. Sports hasn’t produced too many heroes. But, during my lifetime, the athlete that I can view as a hero is Calvin Edwin Ripken, Jr.. And I would doubt that anyone would disagree with me.