Cal Ripken Jr.
RETIRED IRON MAN
The former Oriolesinfielder, who played in 2,632 consecutive games, hasn't played in the Orioles'last 1,146 games.
Dan Patrick: Canyou still dunk?
Cal Ripken Jr.:Probably not. I would only attempt it if someone bet me a lot of money.
April 26, 2009
DP: Did you playbasketball in high school?
CR: Freshman year,then I got sidetracked into soccer.
DP: Were youBeckham before Beckham?
CR: I could bendthe ball. Unintentionally, but I could bend it.
DP: If you hadgone to your dad—a baseball lifer—and said, "I'm going to go play soccer inEurope...."
CR: I'll tell youwhat—my dad thought that soccer was the best game ever invented. He playedsoccer up until he was 50 or so. He really enjoyed the game. Fought all thetime, which I think is why he enjoyed it.
DP: How manyyellow cards did he get?
CR: Oh, man, hejust went straight to red.
DP: There's talkthat Derek Jeter is losing his range at shortstop. They said that about youwhen you moved to third. What advice would you give Jeter?
CR: I relied onthe fact that I knew where the ball was going to be hit, and I positionedmyself accordingly. I had to be perfect with that. I could only go two or threesteps to my left or right. Ozzie Smith had the ability to play every hitterstraight up and still catch everything. I couldn't do that. Now, Derek hasalways relied on his physical side, similar to Ozzie. Maybe he needs to reallystart to focus on positioning.
DP: I was lookingat your IMDB bio. You were a consultant on The Fan, the Wesley Snipes--RobertDe Niro movie. Did you have contact with De Niro?
CR: I did. I hadlunch with him for about three hours in Beverly Hills.
DP: Who's moreintimidating: De Niro or Nolan Ryan on the mound?
DP: What did youask De Niro?
CR: I was justanswering his questions. He was asking about different cities' fans. De Nirowas very interested in Boston fans, how crazed they are, how personal they takeit.
DP: Did fans rootagainst the streak? Did anyone yell, "Break a leg, Cal!"?
CR: No, but somefans took offense to [the streak]. The funny part is, I was compared to LouGehrig. That's unfair, because Lou Gehrig was one of the greatest players toplay. I was pretty good, but I wasn't Lou Gehrig. And certainly a Yankees fanwith a rich history—especially some of the crazy ones—they wanted [the record]to stay with Gehrig. In '95 there were many different threats. I can't imaginewhy you'd get a death threat for going out there and trying to do what youthought your job was.
DP: Would yourather not know about a threat?
CR: Ideally, butone time there was one on the Internet that came [before a game] in Seattle,and all of a sudden there were policemen all around the dugout and I was askednot to take BP.
DP: Did you everconsider sitting?
CR: No. My way ofdealing with it and how I kept perspective was to think, It's crazy, it's morelike a prank call. It wasn't a funny prank, but I treated it that way.
Now Hear This
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Line of theWeek
Lakers coach PhilJackson, on if he would take LeBron James as his first pick if he were buildinga team from scratch: "No, I'd take [Dwight] Howard. I would go with the bigguy. You have to go for... rebounding, defense and challenging shots."
THE FINE PRINT:Not all good news from the Indians 14-run, 13-hit second inning against theYankees. Third base coach Joel Skinner now needs rotator cuff surgery.
Hear Dan announcethe week's Got It Done Award every Monday.