Tough to Celebrate

Cal Ripken Jr. earns induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. An afternoon of celebration as we honor one of the game’s all time greats. I can’t picture anyone more deserving or more Hall of Fame like than Jr. He has represented himself, his family, and all of us with the highest level of class. We take great pride when Cal Ripken Jr.’s name comes up in conversation with those not from the Baltimore area.

So why don’t I feel like celebrating?

Nothing against Cal, instead, as far as baseball in Baltimore…now what?

His induction feels like a wake. From the time the Orioles arrived in Baltimore in 1954 till Sunday there was something fans could always celebrate. At first, simply having a team was fine. And it was just 12 years till the first of three World Series titles. For decades there were great teams and in the rare down years there were great players, Hall of Fame players to embrace.

But what can we embrace now? Cal’s induction gives us nothing else to look forward to. Sunday will be an unabashed Oriole holiday. We’ll puff our chests and reminisce about the streak, the stats, the way he played the game.

Then comes Monday.

And we have a team staring at a 10th consecutive losing season with nobody to look at and say “at least we have______”.

Brian Roberts is a nice player, but no Hall of Famer. And can you truly cheer a star that begged to be traded? Miguel Tejada lost any chance to be considered an all time great Oriole with that soap opera in the winter of 2006.

Andy MacPhail seems capable of turning things around. And they are 18-14 under interim manager Dave Trembley. The cabinets aren’t completely bare but for a franchise with such proud tradition, a franchise capable of rearing the likes of Cal Ripken Jr, that’s just not enough.

I think I’ll call in sick on Monday.


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